Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: The Bench of Vinod Kumar Sinha, J. allowed a criminal appeal granting anticipatory bail to persons who were apprehending their arrest under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

Appellants herein were apprehending their arrest in connection with a police case registered for offences punishable under Sections 147, 341, 323, 354, 504, 506 of the Penal Code, 1860 and Sections 3(1)(s) of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Allegation against them was that they arrived, heavily armed, at informant’s house, thrashed his wife, assaulted her and made her semi-naked.

Submission of the learned counsel for the appellants, Mr Ashok Kumar Jha, was that Appellant 1 had filed a title suit pertaining to a land which the defendant (in title suit) tried to sell to the informant. However, the Court granted an injunction in favour of the appellants. Holding the same grudge against appellants, a fabricated police case had been lodged against appellants.

In view of facts and circumstances, the Court allowed the appellants to be released on bail in the event of their arrest, on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 25,000 each with two sureties of the like amount to the satisfaction of the learned Special Judge, SC/ST Act, Sitamarhi. [Bhikhari SK v. State of Bihar, Criminal Appeal (SJ) No. 242 of 2019, Order dated 27-02-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: This petition was filed before the Bench of Sheel Nagu, J., fourth time under Section 439 of Criminal Procedure Code for grant of bail where the prior bail application were rejected on merit and petitioner was given liberty to come again after the main prosecution witness was examined.

Facts of the case were that petitioner was arrested in connection with crime punishable under Sections 307, 323, 294, 147, 148, 149, 325, 427 IPC and Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act. Petitioner was alleged for murder where several police personnel were injured. It was brought before Court that the co-accused was already enlarged on bail and petitioner was in custody for 1 year and 4 months and yet Trial had not progressed.

High Court in light of the fact that the co-accused was already on bail and the time period petitioner had already spent in imprisonment observed that speedy trial under Article 21 of the Constitution was breached. With a view that Trial will take time to conclude and prolonged pre-trial detention was an anathema to the concept of liberty, the petitioner was granted bail. [Dileep Pardi v. State of M.P., 2019 SCC OnLine MP 425, dated 06-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: The Bench of Sudhanshu Dhulia, J. accepted the application seeking bail where the applicant was a woman and had a 10-year-old daughter.

In the pertinent case the main allegation against the applicant was that she had entered into an agreement for sale with certain agriculturists whose land was under acquisition and as an implication was in conspiracy with public officials, knowing fully well in advance that a huge sum of money will go as a compensation, even though no prudent person would enter into an agreement for sale for a land which is under acquisition. Although the counsel for the applicant contended the land for which the agreement for sale was executed was not the same land, which was under acquisition. And the counsel for the State rebutted by distinguishing it on facts and argued that some of the land indeed was the area which was under acquisition.

The Court without going into the facts contended, granted bail to the applicant, considering the fact that she is a woman and has a 10-year old daughter, who needs to be looked after. Also, the fact that she was already in jail since 21-03-2018, the Court considered it to be a fit case to grant bail. [Priya Sharma v. State of Uttarakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 138, Order dated 01-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: The Bench of Vipul M. Pancholi, J. allowed a petition seeking anticipatory bail subject to certain restrictions.

In the pertinent case, the allegations against the accused were of producing forged documents and of abetment. The counsel for the applicant stated that he is ready and willing to abide by all the conditions including the imposition of conditions with regard to powers of Investigating Agency. And considering the nature of the alleged offences, custodial interrogation was not needed at this stage.

The Court considered that the allegation against the applicant is that at the most he has abetted the main accused and there was an undue delay of 5 years in lodging the FIR. And since he is cooperating with the investigation agency, his custodial interrogation is not required. The Court relied on the law laid down by Shri Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia v. State of Punjab, (1980) 2 SCC 565 and thus, allowed the petition directing the release of the applicant on bail.[Gupta Anandkumar Satyanarayan v. State of Gujarat, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 285, Order dated 21-02-2019]

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Supreme Court of Pakistan: The Three-Judge Bench of Mian Saqib Nisar, HCJ; Mushir Alam and Ijaz Ul Ahsan, JJ., allowed the petition filed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the order granting bail to a person accused of laundering money in a scheme pertaining to army personnel.

A company – Globaco Pvt. Ltd. – under an arrangement with Defence Housing Authority (DHA) launched a subsidized scheme for army personnel. DHA, Lahore filed a complaint against the company alleging diversion of funds received from the public. NAB started an investigation into the said transaction. During the course of the investigation, it was revealed that respondent was Director in a company Orange Properties Pvt. Ltd., which was the holding company of Globaco Pvt. Ltd.

It was the case of NAB that respondent had enriched himself by diverting colossal sums of money received from the public, into accounts of various companies of which he was, directly and indirectly, the beneficiary. Consequent to his arrest by NAB, the respondent filed a writ petition wherein the learned Judge released him on bail. The said order was assailed by way of present petition.

The Court observed that the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 is a special law enacted with an objective to combat the white-collar crime of high magnitude. All offences under the Ordinance are non-bailable. It was opined that where persons handling the affairs of a corporate entity use a legal attire to carry out any commercial activity and commit any wrong, then NAB has authority to lift the veil of incorporation and trace the mastermind behind such façade. Relying on Nisar Ahmed v. State, 2015 SCC OnLine Pak 136 it was held that powers for the grant of bail in such cases must be exercised strictly.

In view of the above, the impugned order was set aside.[National Accountability Bureau v. Murad Arshad, Civil Petition No. 1707 of 2018, Order dated 22-10-2018]

Hot Off The PressNews

As reported by media, Journalist Priya Ramani appeared in the Patiala House District Court for the defamation case filed by MJ Akbar (Former Union Minister).

Priya Ramani was the first woman to accuse MJ Akbar of sexual allegations during the “#me too” campaign.

MJ Akbar had filed a defamation case against her, stating the cause that the article published by Ramani in which she had stated she was sexually harassed by MJ Akbar in the past. Several women had raised their voices in support of Ramani along with the ones who had been the victim of the same.

Therefore, today on appearance at the Patiala House District Court, Ramani was granted bail with a bond of Rs 10,000 by Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Samar Vishal.
Ramani after the court proceedings gave a statement that “truth is her defence” and after the next date it will be her turn to tell the story.

The next date of hearing is fixed to be 10-04-2019.

[Source: ANI]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: The Bench of Gita Mittal, CJ and Tashi Rabstan, J. allowed the application filed for seeking suspension of the sentence imposed upon the applicant on the ground that there was no chance of the appeal being heard in the near future.

The facts of the case are that the applicant was booked for the commission of offence under Sections 302/34 RPC and Sections 4/25 of Arms Act. The appellant was convicted for the same by the Trial Court. The order noted that the applicant/appellant had roots in society; his brother was serving in the Indian Army and that the family would facilitate the applicant/appellant in conforming to the societal norms if his sentence was suspended. However, taking into consideration the apprehensions expressed on behalf of the complainant the Court suspended the sentence of applicant/appellant for a period of five weeks to evaluate the conduct of the applicant/appellant while set at liberty. No complaint of any misbehavior was recorded after his release.

The Court while relying on the case of Akhtari Bi v. State of M.P., (2001) 4 SCC 355, upheld that if the appeal is pending for five years and there is no chance of an appeal being heard in near future then in such a case the applicant/appellant should be enlarged on bail. [Naresh Kumar v. State, 2019 SCC OnLine J&K 80, Order dated 29-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: The Bench of S.H. Vora, J. allowed an appeal under Section 14-A of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 whereby the appellant–original accused challenged the order passed by the Sessions Judge, whereby, the  Sessions Judge had refused to grant anticipatory bail under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The Counsel for the respondent stated that the text of the SMS messages between the parties prima facie indicated that there was a commission of offence under the provisions of the said Act and, therefore, no discretionary powers should be exercised against the appellant.

The Court, while relying on the case of Siddharam Satlingappa Mhetre v. State of Maharashtra, (2011) 1 SCC 694, held that since the substantial investigation was over and no any other offence was registered the appeal should be allowed. [Pratikkumar Rajeshbhai Patel v. State Of Gujarat, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 137, Order dated 24-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Meghalaya High Court: The Bench of H.S. Thangkhiew, J. hearing a bail application filed by an accused under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, denied grant of bail opining that the accused was a threat to the victim.

First Information Report was lodged against the accused for committing offence punishable under Section 8 of the POCSO Act, 2012. He was in custody since the date of his arrest as successive bail applications filed by him were rejected by the Special Judge.

Learned counsel for the applicant submitted that the investigation against accused had been completed and hence his further detention was not necessary. Whereas, learned counsel for the respondent submitted that bail should be denied as there were no new facts or materials warranting consideration of grant of bail. Also, the accused was trying to cast undue influence and harassment on the victim by coercing her to enter into a compromise. The said fact of coercion was also recorded in the Special Judge’s order rejecting bail.

The Court opined that normally, after chargesheet is filed, custody of the accused is not needed as the investigation is complete, and since evidence is already collected by the police, there are fewer chances of destruction or concealment of evidence. However, chances of threatening of witnesses may still exist. In the instant case, there was a reasonable apprehension of the witness being tampered with as there were threats to the complainant and the minor victim girl.

It was held that the nature and gravity of circumstances of the offence which involved a minor victim girl under the POCSO Act, and the conduct of accused towards the victim and witnesses weighed against the grant of bail. Accordingly, the present application was rejected.[Sumanta Deka v. State of Meghalaya, 2019 SCC OnLine Megh 1, Order dated 07-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Tripura High Court: Appalled at the shocking revelations made in a bail application, the Bench of Sanjay Karol, CJ. asked for a detailed tabulated data on the number of people granted bail under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 and the reasons for granting such bail.

While hearing a bail application on behalf of Krishna Kumar, who along with four others were found consciously possessing 298 kilograms of a contraband substance, the Court made the above-mentioned observations. Another accused in the same case, Pritam Roy, was granted ad-interim bail by a Special Judge on humanitarian grounds. During the hearing of the present case, the Director General of Police (Tripura) was also present. Under instructions from the DGP, a statement with regard to the status of the cases under the provision of the NDPS Act and release of the accused persons only for the year 2018 was furnished. According to this statement, 435 out of 660 people against whom a case was registered under the NDPS Act, were granted bail.

When presented with such shocking data, the learned Judge asked for the reason why was it so facile for accused to get bail under the NDPS Act. The Court questioned “the reasons for grant of bail; is it what is commonly termed as a default bail; is it that the Public Prosecutor conceded to the grant of bail; is it that the Public Prosecutors did not oppose the same; is it that the Courts have passed the orders without following the settled principles of law; or is it that innocent stand falsely implicated. If so, then why no action, in accordance with law, stands taken against the erring persons by the authorities?”

The DGP, Tripura was directed to submit a detailed report of all cases registered under NDPS Act in 2018 in the State of Tripura. It was directed that such report should also include the reasons for the grant of bail (if any) among others.[Haricharan Biswas v. State of Tripura, 2019 SCC OnLine Tri 24, Order dated 10-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: The Bench of Mohammad Nawaz, J. declared that imposing of cash security would virtually amount to a denial of bail.

A petition was filed to set aside an order of a bail condition which was to furnish Rs 1,00,000 as cash security. The petitioners agreed to other conditions but had requested the Court to relax the above condition to which the respondents contended that it was justified owing to the nature of the allegations.

The Court relied on the judgments in Keshab Narayan Banerjee v. State of Bihar, AIR 1985 SC 1666, Moti Ram v. State of M.P., (1978) 4 SCC 47 and a few others wherein it was declared that in order to furnish a heavy cash security amounted to discrimination imposing of which shall amount to ‘no bail’ for the poor strata of the society. Also, any condition in the bail format sure does give unfettering power to the Court to impose any conditions on the applicant but exercising the same should not give an illusionary benefit to the petitioner. Accordingly, the petition was allowed by setting aside the said condition.[Rajshekhar v. State of Karnataka, 2018 SCC OnLine Kar 2936, order dated 21-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: The Bench of A.Y. Kogje, J. allowed a bail application under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 in connection with FIR registered for the offence punishable under Sections 363, 366 and 376(2)(I)(N) IPC and under Sections 3(A), 4, 5(L), 6, 7, 8, 11(6) and 12 of the POCSO Act, 2012.

Additional Public Prosecutor appearing for the respondent-State opposed grant of regular bail looking to the nature and gravity of the offence.

The cardinal fact that was taken into account was that the applicant was aged 24 years, unmarried and was a student whereas the prosecutrix was aged 16 years. The Court while allowing the application stated that by history narrated before the Medical Officer, the element of love affair could not have been ruled out and therefore the present was found to be a fit case to enlarge the accused on bail. [Harsul v. State of  Gujarat, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 68, Order dated 16-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: The Bench of A.Y. Kogje, J., allowed the application for bail sought under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for regular bail in connection with FIR registered for the offence punishable under Sections 395, 397 and 452 of the Indian Penal Code and under Section 135 of the Gujarat Police Act.

Additional Public Prosecutor appearing for the respondent-State opposed grant of regular bail looking to the nature and gravity of the offence.

The Court considered that there was no recovery or discovery from the applicant regarding the offence. No identification was carried out. Further, there was no evidence connecting the applicant with the offence. Basically, the opposite party was unable to bring on record any special circumstances against the applicant. The court while allowing the application held that the nature of the allegations made against the applicant in the First Information Report were bald and thus it was a fit case to exercise the discretion and enlarge the applicant on regular bail. [Anil Bhawan Vaskeliya v. State of Gujarat, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 38, decided on 11-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: This petition was filed before the Bench of Ashwani Kumar Mishra, J. against the order passed by the State Government whereby petitioner was suspended due to the fact that he was incarcerated in jail.

Petitioner contended that he had already been enlarged on bail and thereby there remains no reason to keep him suspended i.e. the ingredients to continue his suspension under Rule 4(3)(a) of the U.P. Government Servant (Conduct & Appeal) Rules, 1999 ceased. Also, there was no charge sheet served upon petitioner. Petitioner relied on the case of Ajay Kumar Choudhary v. Union of India, (2015) 7 SCC 291 where it was settled that suspension should not be allowed beyond a reasonable period.

High Court was of the view that petitioner was suspended under Rule 4(3)(a) of the Rules due to his incarceration in jail and since he was enlarged upon bail and the factual position was changed, thus, suspension order could not have passed after his release. Therefore, petitioner’s suspension order was quashed. [Awadhesh Kumar Yadav v. State of U.P., 2019 SCC OnLine All 68, order dated 10-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: The Bench of S.H. Vora, J., allowed an appeal made for granting of bail.

The facts of the case are that the appellant was booked for offences committed under Sections 306, 385 and 114 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 3(2), 5(a) and 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The Sessions Judge had rejected the application moved for bail in reference to this. Present appeal was filed under Section 14-A(2) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

The Court, considering the fact that the complaint filed by the complainant did not disclose any role against the appellant, the suicide note was silent and the FIR was registered after 27 days of delay, allowed the current appeal and the appellant was ordered to be released on bail. [Chintan Kaushikbhai Patel v. State Of Gujarat, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 23, Order dated 10-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench comprising of V.K. Tahilramani, Acting CJ (as he then was) and M.S. Sonak, J. declined bail to the applicant who was a convict for an offence punishable under Section 302 IPC.

The applicant was convicted for murdering her husband. The murder occurred as the applicant was having an illicit affair with the co-accused. She was before the Court seeking bail. It is pertinent to note that earlier as well the applicant had preferred a bail application which was rejected.

Priyal G. Sarda, Advocate for the applicant submitted that there was no eyewitness to the incident and only evidence against her was of recovery. However, during recovery, the applicant was handcuffed and therefore such recovery can’t be taken into consideration. This was opposed by G.P. Mulekar, Additional Public Prosecutor for the State.

The High Court relied on Putlabai Bhimashankar Pattan v. State of Maharashtra, 2010 SCC OnLine Bom 685 wherein it was observed, “…handcuffing a person by itself cannot be a reason to generalize the hypothesis that such a discovery cannot be reliable”. In view thereof, the Court held that there was no substance in applicant’s submission. Furthermore, no fresh ground was brought before the Court to necessitate reconsideration of applicant’s prayer for bail. Therefore, the application was rejected. [Poonam Bhagwatiprasad Gandhi v. State of Maharashtra, 2018 SCC OnLine Bom 7283, decided on 30-07-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Mukta Gupta, J. allowed a bail application holding that the petitioner was entitled to default bail as the investigating agency failed to file chargesheet within 60 days.

The petitioner was alleged to be driving a white colour car at high speed without a license in an intoxicated state. On the fateful night, he lost control and rammed his car over the footpath. The car hit a tree and turned upside down. Four people, including the complainant and three other sleeping on the footpath, were injured. They were taken to hospital where two them were declared brought dead. The petitioner was arrested on 9-9-2018 and has been in custody since then. He filed an application seeking bail before the trial court. Besides the merits, he urged additional ground that he was entitled to default bail as chargesheet was not filed in the case. However, the trial court dismissed the application on the ground that it could not at that stage from an opinion whether the offence committed was under Section 304-I or 304-II IPC. Offence under Section 304-II IPC being punishable upto life imprisonment and 90 days from the date of arrest having not elapsed, the petitioner was not entitled to default bail. Aggrieved thereby, he filed the present petition.

The petitioner who was represented by R.K. Wadhwa, Vishesh Wadhwa and Meena Duggal, Advocates submitted that on the face of allegations, it could not be held that he committed the offence with any intention and at best knowledge could be attributed to him.

The High Court perused the record and observed that the facts of the case spoke for themselves that at best what was attributable to petitioner was the knowledge that his act was likely to cause the death of people sleeping on the footpath, in which case the offence was under Section 304-II. Such offence is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to 10 years. After referring to Rakesh Kumar Paul v. State of Assam, (2017) 15 SCC 67, the Court held that since a period of 60 days has elapsed from the date of arrest of the petitioner and no chargesheet was filed by the investigating agency, he was entitled to default bail. Consequently, the petitioner was granted bail subject to the conditions imposed. [Devesh Kumar v. State, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 13073, dated 21-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sunil Thomas, J. refused enlargement on bail of a person accused of transacting commercial quantity of the drug.

Applicant herein was caught purchasing 10.202 kilograms of hashish oil and was arrested for committing offences punishable under Sections 20(b)(ii)(C) and 29 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. He filed an application for granting bail. At the same time, the prosecution filed an application for extension of remand period. Pending consideration of the application for extension of remand period, petitioner’s bail application was adjourned. After the extension was granted, his bail application was dismissed. Aggrieved thereby, the present bail application was filed challenging the lower court’s order on the basis of the decision in Rambeer Shokeen v. State of NCT of Delhi, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 8504.

The Court opined that petitioner’s contention had become redundant since extension for his remand, granted by the lower court, had taken effect from the date of expiry of the first statutory period. In view thereof and in view of serious nature of allegations attributed against the petitioner of having transacted commercial quantity of the drug, his application was dismissed.[Vinish Kumar v. State of Kerala,2018 SCC OnLine Ker 5092, decided on 06-12-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: A Bench comprising of N.V. Ramana, M.M. Shantanagoudar and M.R. Shah, JJ. allowed a set of appeals filed against the common judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court whereby it had allowed application for suspension of sentence preferred by accused persons and directed them to be released on bail.

The accused were apprehended with “manufactured drugs” and convicted by the trial court under Sections 21 and 22 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. Aggrieved by the conviction and sentence, the accused approached the High Court. During the pendency of appeals, the High Court passed the judgment stated above observing that “manufactured drugs”, be it containing narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, must be tried under Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. Aggrieved thereby, the State preferred present appeals.

On perusal of the matter, the Supreme Court was of the opinion that the judgment of the High Court was untenable. Analysing the objectives of the two Acts, it was observed, “while Drugs and Cosmetics Act deals with drugs which are intended to be used for therapeutic or medicinal usage, the NDPS Act intends to curb and penalize the usage of drugs which are used for intoxication or for getting a stimulant effect.” In the instant case, accused were found in bulk possession of manufactured drugs without valid authorisation. It was noted that Section 80 of NDPS Act provides that provisions of the Act are in addition to and not in derogation of Drugs and Cosmetics Act. Reference in this connection was also made to Union of India v. Sanjeev V. Deshpande, (2014) 13 SCC 1. Further, it is prerogative of the State to prosecute the offender in accordance with law. In such view of the matter, the judgment of the High Court was set aside and the authorities concerned were directed to take the accused in custody. [State of Punjab v. Rakesh Kumar,2018 SCC OnLine SC 2651, decided on 03-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sureshwar Thakur, J. allowed a bail application owing to the vague and unclear FIR.

The petitioner has requested for the grant of anticipatory bail under Section 438 CrPC wherein he has been accused of offences punishable under Sections 376 and 506 IPC.

The prosecutrix has alleged forced sexual intercourse being subjected to her by the applicant. But what has to be taken into consideration was the date of the incident which was 2016 also she was unclear about the date and month of the act. Plus from the contents of the FIR, the whole narration of the incidence does not seem forced but rather vague and nebulous. The Court also considered the fact that she was married but didn’t disclose the matter to her husband which again acquires an aura of falsity.

Accordingly, due to the weak testimony of the prosecutrix along with the fact that the applicant showed the fullest cooperation in the investigation, the bail application stood allowed. [Madan Lal v. State of Himachal Pradesh,2018 SCC OnLine HP 1702, decided on 28-11-2018]