Punjab and Haryana High Court

Punjab and Haryana High Court: In a petition seeking quashing of orders passed by the Trial Court against Deepak Chaurasia seeking exemption from personal appearance in a case, Jagmohan Bansal, J. through an interim order directed him to appear before the Trial Court, furnish bail bonds and pay Rs 2 lakhs costs.

Deepak Chaurasia (Indian Journalist) being the petitioner in the instant matter, approached the Court under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (‘CrPC’). He sought quashing of order wherein, the Trial Court declined his application seeking permanent exemption from personal appearance and cancelled the bail bonds in an FIR under Section 67-B of the Information Technology Act, 2000, (‘IT Act’) Sections 469, 471, 180 and 120-B of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’) and Section 23 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (‘POCSO’), registered at District Gurugram.

The Court took note of the fact that Deepak Chaurasia is holding a very senior position in a national news Channel and undertook to pay a cost of Rs. 2 lakhs for non-appearance before the Court, and that he would appear before the Trial Court on 03-03-2023 and furnish fresh bail bonds. He also assured of not raising any grouse if an adverse order is passed in his absence, including framing of charges and recording of evidence, as pointed by the Court.

The Court observed that “Right of personal liberty granted by Article 21 of the Constitution of India is one of the most pious and important fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution. Arrest not only deprives of the right of personal liberty, but also causes mental agony, stress and tarnishes the reputation of entire family.”

While deciding the instant matter, the Court took note of the following pointers:

  • Cancellation of bond or declaration as proclaimed offender is to secure a person’s presence;
  • Deepak Chaurasia is working with a national news channel on a senior position, and there is no allegation of possibility to flee from justice;
  • He is willing to pay costs of Rs. 2 lakhs for wasting the valuable time of Courts and Prosecution;
  • He is not involved in any other offence; and
  • The trial in the instant matter has been pending since 2015, while Deepak Chaurasia is set to face the trial, it may not cause any prejudice to the Prosecution or Complainant.

Thus, the Court directed Deepak Chaurasia to appear before the Trial Court on or before 03-03-2023, and that the Trial Court would release him on bail after furnishing bail bonds and payment of costs of Rs. 2 lakhs to be deposited with the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (‘PGIMER’), Chandigarh under the Poor Patient Welfare Fund.

Also read:Punjab and Haryana High Court stays arrest of Deepak Chaurasia; directs him to appear before Trial Court

[Deepak Chaurasia v. State of Haryana, 2023 SCC OnLine P&H 148, Interim Order dated 21-02-2023]

Judgment authored by: Justice Jagmohan Bansal

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Petitioner: Senior Advocate Vinod Ghai, Advocate Edward Augustine George;

For Respondent: Additional Advocate General Dimple Jain, Advocate Dharmendra Kumar Mishra, Advocate Pratyush Yadav, Advocate Neeraj Deswal.

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