Delhi High Court: In a case wherein an application had been filed under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (‘CrPC') for the grant of anticipatory bail to the applicant in FIR dated 30-03-2021 under Sections 364, 354A, 354B, 406, 498A, 506, 509, and 34 of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘ IPC'), Saurabh Banerjee, J.*, noted the fact that the FIR was lodged after a delay of nine months and opined that while granting anticipatory bail to the applicant along with the nature and the gravity of the offence alleged, the Court also had to consider the role of the applicant, which was yet to be established. Thus, the Court granted anticipatory bail to the applicant.
The allegations in FIR were related to alleged offences committed on 29/30-05-2020 upon the complainant at the matrimonial home where she was residing with her husband and in-laws. Thereafter, though the complainant left the matrimonial house on 03-06-2020, she only filed a complaint on 30-03-2021 and the original charge-sheet was filed under Section 173(2) of the CrPC for the offences punishable under Sections 354, 354-A, 354-B, 406, 498, 506, 509 and 34 of the IPC. The applicant along with the other accused persons, were granted anticipatory bail on 06-08-2021 and thereafter, a supplementary charge-sheet under Section 173(8) of the CrPC was filed on 30-11-2022 wherein Sections 376 and 511 of the IPC were added.
The senior counsel for the applicant submitted that there had been a significant delay of more than nine months in the filing of the FIR. The applicant further submitted that the supplementary charge sheet was filed as an after-thought and no concrete evidence was found against the applicant by the Investigating Officer (‘IO').
Analysis, Law, and Decision
The Court opined that while granting anticipatory bail to the applicant along with the nature and the gravity of the offence alleged, the Court also had to consider the role of the applicant, which was yet to be established since there were no medical documents which showed that complainant was administered anything by the applicant. The Court acknowledged the fact that the FIR was lodged after a delay of nine months, and it was also not in dispute that a few stridhan items including a BMW Car had been returned to the complainant. The Court observed that as per the IO's finding, no further custodial interrogation of the applicant was required.
The Court relied on Harshita Gandhi v. State, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 2683 and opined that though chargesheet had been filed but, in all likelihood, the trial in the matter would take long. The Court opined that during the said period of trial, there was no occasion for the applicant to keep him languished behind the bars, as it would serve no purpose and as it was a trite law that no person was presumed guilty until proven otherwise. Moreover, the applicant had no other prior antecedents.
The applicant shall not leave the National Capital Territory of Delhi without prior permission of the Court and shall ordinarily reside at the address as per the Trial Court records. If he so wishes to change his residential address, he shall immediately intimate about the same to the IO by way of an affidavit.
The applicant shall surrender his Passport to the IO, within three days. If he does not possess the same, he shall file an affidavit before the IO to that effect within the stipulated time.
The applicant shall appear before the Court as and when the matter is taken up for hearing.
The applicant shall join an investigation as and when called by the IO concerned. He shall not obstruct or hamper the police investigation and shall not play mischief with the evidence collected or yet to be collected by the Police.
The applicant shall provide all his mobile numbers to the IO concerned which shall be kept in working condition at all times and shall not switch off or change the mobile number without prior intimation to the IO concerned. The mobile location is to be kept on at all times.
Accordingly, the Court disposed of the present application for grant of anticipatory bail along with the pending applications.
[Parveen Soneja v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2023 SCC OnLine Del 4154, decided on 13-07-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For Applicant: Vikas Pahwa, Senior Advocate; Prabhav Ralli, Namisha Jain and Ravi Kant Yadav, Advocates
For Respondents: Aashneet Singh, APP; K. K. Manan, Senior Advocate; Uditi Bali, Ajit Singh, Komal Vashisht and Jatin Singh, Advocates
*Judgment by- Justice Saurabh Banerjee