Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: The Full Bench of Rajesh Bindal, C.J.(A), I.P. Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen, Arijit Banerjee, JJ., on 28-05-2021 granted interim Bail during the pendency of the matter before this Court to the TMC ministers accused in the Narada Scam case.

The Court after hearing the counsels were of the view that the factual and legal issues, sought to be raised by them, may require some time for final determination and considering the current circumstances the Court deemed fit to grant them Bail subject to certain conditions:

  1. The aforesaid accused persons, if they are not required in any other case, shall be released on bail subject to each one executing a bail bond of `2 lakhs with two sureties of like amount, to the satisfaction of the Special Judge, C.B.I. Court, Kolkata.
  2. The aforesaid accused persons shall make themselves available for interrogation in the course of further investigation, if any, of the alleged offence, as and when required by the C.B.I. Considering the lockdown imposed in the State of West Bengal, the interrogation may be carried out by virtual mode.
  3. The aforesaid accused persons shall not tamper with the evidence or attempt to intimidate or influence the witnesses.
  4. The aforesaid accused persons shall not give any press interview or make any public comments in connection with the cases pending in this Court or in the trial Court, pertaining to the alleged offence concerning themselves or any other co-accused.

The Court ordered that interim order shall continue till disposal of these proceedings or until further order, whichever was earlier, the matter was listed on 31-05-2021 wherein Advocate General, sought to raise preliminary objection regarding maintainability of the present proceedings and constitution of the larger Bench.

Arguments of the Solicitor General of India were heard on 31-05-2021 and 01-06-2021 and further adjourned to 02-06-2021.

[CBI ACB Kolkata v. Firhad Hakim, W.P.A 10504 of 2021, decided on 01-06-2021]


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: After jailed activist Natasha Narwal’s father Mahavir Narwal breathed his last owing to COVID-19, the bench of Siddharth Mridul and Anup Jairam Bhambhani, JJ has released Natasha Narwal on interim bail for 3 weeks. While doing so, the Court said,

“… the release of the applicant/appellant is imperative in this hour of grief and personal loss and in the facts and circumstances of the case.”

Natasha had originally sought bail on the ground that her aged father had been hospitalised on account of having tested ‘positive’ for COVID-19 virus and that her brother, who was hitherto taking care of the father, had also tested ‘positive’ for Covid-19 subsequently and was consequently unable to take care of their aged, ailing father. The Court was, however, informed that Natasha’s father passed away on 09.05.2021.

Considering that Mahavir Narwal was survived only by his daughter, Natasha and a son, who was in self-isolation owing to COVID-19 infection; the Court took note of the fact that there is nobody else in the family to perform his cremation and last rites. Natasha’s mother passed away some 21 years ago.

The Court, hence, directed Natasha’s release on the following conditions:

“1) The appellant/applicant shall furnish a personal bond in the sum of Rs. 50,000/- to the satisfaction of the Jail Superintendent. In view of the circumstance that her sole sibling Mr. Akash Narwal is currently in self-isolation by reason of being afflicted by COVID-19 and the appellant/applicant has already furnished sureties towards bail granted to her in FIR No. 50/2020 at P.S.: Jafrabad and FIR No. 48/2020 at P.S.: Jaffrabad, the appellant/ applicant is exempted from filing any surety;

2) The appellant/applicant will provide a cell phone number to the SHO, P.S.: Crime Branch (Special Cell) on which she may be contacted at any time, which she undertakes to keep operational during the entire period of her release. In addition, the appellant/ applicant shall also furnish a cell phone number to the SHO, PS : Urban Estate, Rohtak, Haryana, which is stated to have jurisdiction over the place of the appellant/applicant’s residence at 1225, Sector-3, Rohtak, Haryana;

3) The appellant/applicant shall comply with all governmental rules in force by reason of the prevailing pandemic and observe all precautions as stipulated therein without demur, including but not limited to wearing a PPE kit at the time of the cremation;

4) The appellant/applicant shall not leave the territories of the State of Delhi and Haryana without permission of the court and shall ordinarily reside at the address as per prison records/as mentioned in the application;

5) The applicant/appellant shall surrender before the Jail Authorities upon expiry of the period of interim bail;

6) Not earlier that 03 days before the time of her surrender, the applicant/appellant shall undergo an RT-PCR test for COVID-19 and shall provide to the Jail Superintendent a copy of such report.”

Natasha was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for an alleged ‘premeditated conspiracy’ in the northeast Delhi riots in February, 2020 and has remained behind bars at New Delhi’s Tihar Jail since May last year.

[Natasha Narwal v. State of Delhi NCT, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 1960 , order dated 10.05.2021]


Appearances before the Court by:

For Applicant: Advocates Adit S. Pujari, Tusharika Mattoo and Kunal Negi

For State:  SPP Amit Prasad, Amit Mahajan, and Rajat Nair and Advocates Dhruv Pande and Shantanu Sharma

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jharkhand High Court: Ananda Sen, J., addressed the instant petition against the impugned order of the Judicial Commissioner, whereby the petitioner was directed to pay a sum of Rs 1 lakh as ad-interim victim compensation.

Background

The informant had purchased a car from the respondents and paid Rs 50,000 in cash and the rest balance amount of Rs 2,85,000 had been paid through bank transfer. The parties had agreed that the entire paperwork including transfer of name and issuance of NOC would be completed and sent to the informant but even after lapse of 9 months no documents were received by the informant. In the meantime, said car met with an accident and due to lack of documents including NOC, informant could not get benefit of insurance claim, thus he was cheated. The petitioners, who were accused in the FIR registered under Sections 406 and 420 of Penal Code.

While granting anticipatory bail, the Judicial Commissioner had directed the petitioners to pay a sum of Rs 1 lakh collectively, in favour of the informant/victim, as ad-interim victim compensation. It was submitted by the petitioners that the Court had committed a grave error in granting victim compensation at the stage of grant of bail by directing the petitioners to pay the said amount. It had been further submitted that at the stage of bail, the petitioners were merely an accused. As there was a presumption of innocence in their favour, the petitioners could not have been directed to compensate the informant.

Are the Courts empowered to direct payment and fix quantum thereof of victim compensation under Section 357A of CrPC?

Noticing the provisions of Section 357A, the Bench stated that there had to be a fund, created for the purpose of paying compensation. The intention of legislature was clear that the amount of compensation to be paid to the victim or the dependent of the victim had to be from the fund itself. As per the provision, the role of the Court was only to recommend payment of victim compensation, which was to be made to the District Legal Services Authority or the State Legal Services Authority. Thus, stated the Court,

“The Court is not vested with the power under Section 357A of the Code to quantify the amount of compensation, rather that power is vested with the Legal Services Authority.”

Citing the ruled laid down in Taylor v. Taylor, [L.R.] 1 Ch.D. 426, which was, also applied by the Supreme Court in Rao Shiv Bahadur Singh Vs. State of Vindhya Pradesh, 1954 SCR 1098, the Bench said, “It is well settled that where the statute provides for a thing to be done in a particular manner, then it has to be done in that manner and in no other manner.”

Thus, the Court could only recommend payment of victim compensation, quantum of which had to be ascertained and determined by the State or the District Legal Services Authority. Further, the Court expressed,

“An accused cannot be saddled with payment of victim compensation, as the same is not in consonance with Section 357A nor with the Scheme, the Court could not have directed the petitioners to pay the said amount as victim compensation.”

Whether the victim compensation can be granted at the time of granting bail or at any stage prior to conclusion of the trial?

Supreme Court, in the case of Ankush Shivaji Gaikwad v. State of Maharashtra, (2013) 6 SCC 770, had held that the occasion to consider the question of award of compensation would logically arise only after the Court records conviction of the accused. The Bench remarked that before granting compensation, there had to be some inquiry. If any Court, under Section 357A of the Code, quantify the amount of compensation, the same could not be without an inquiry as to whether the compensation was adequate or not. Thus, legislature, in its wisdom, had vested the power of inquiry, as envisaged in Section 357A (5), with the State or District Legal Services Authority and the Court had only been vested with a power to recommend payment of victim compensation. This recommendation should be without quantifying the amount. The Bench stated,

“Once the victim is identified, there is no embargo in paying victim compensation even at the stage of consideration of bail of the accused, which is an interlocutory phase.”

Therefore, it had been held that victim compensation could be granted at any stage of the proceeding, even at the stage of grant of bail, or even after the conclusion of trial, the Court could recommend payment of victim compensation by way of interim measure, to the victim.

Whether willingness to pay victim compensation can be a relevant ground for the grant of interim bail?

Regarding the question, whether offering to pay compensation could be a valid consideration for bail, the Bench expressed,

“In that event, there will be persons with criminal intent in their mind, who will be roaming in the society with a knife in one hand and a purse full of money in another.”

 Thus, the Bench opined, if payment of compensation becomes a consideration for the grant of bail, not only same would be against the provision of law, but would also have a catastrophic effect upon the administration of criminal justice. Thus, any submission on behalf of the accused volunteering to pay compensation to the victim, in lieu of grant of bail, should not, at all, be considered by the Court. The Court should not be swayed by those submissions made by the parties, rather should evaluate and base the order on the correct perspective.

Lastly, the Bench ruled out, the offence alleged and the nature of injury, if any, caused to the victim was not covered by the schedules of Victim Compensation Scheme framed by the State. Thus, when the loss or injury so allegedly caused, was not expressly covered under the Schedules of the Scheme, there could not be any recommendation far less a direction to pay victim compensation by the accused as a condition of bail against the provision of law. Hence, the impugned order was set aside.[Sumit Kumar Shaw v. State of Jharkhand, Cr. M.P. No. 2194 of  2020, decided on 29-01-2021]


 Appearance before the Court by:

 For the Petitioners: Adv. Indrajit Sinha

For the State: State Counsel IV P.A.S. Pati

For the Opposite Party  2: Adv. Soumitra Baroi


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a big relief to Munawar Faruqui, the bench of RF Nariman and BR Gavai, JJ has granted interim bail to the stand-up comic.

The order of the Court came after it was pointed out to it that the allegations made in the FIR against the comic are vague and also the procedure contained in Section 41 Cr.P.C. as adumbrated by the Supreme Court in Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar, (2014) 8 SCC 273, has not been followed before making the arrest.

The Court, hence,  stayed the Judgment of the Madhya Pradesh High Court and released the comic on ad-interim bail on conditions to the satisfaction of the trial court. In the meantime, there shall be stay of the production warrants as well.

On 01-01-2021, a stand-up comedy show was organized at Munro Café. The complainant, who was a custodian of Hindu Protection Congregation (Sanghatan); had alleged that in the show, the comedians were deliberately cutting filthy and indecent jokes on Hindu Gods and Goddesses and BJP National President, Amit Shah. As a result, the comedians had hurt and outraged religious sentiments of the complainant. An FIR was filed for the offences punishable under Sections 295A, 298, 269 and 188/34 IPC and the applicant was kept in custody since 01-01-2021. The applicant had sought for bail before the Court of Magistrate and the Sessions Judge respectively but both the applications had been rejected.

Madhya Pradesh High Court’s single judge bench of Rohit Arya, J. had, on 28.01.2021, rejected the bail application of Comic Munawar Faruqui and the organizers of the show.

[Munawar v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 60, order dated 05.02.2021]


MP HC | “The goals enshrined under Art. 51A(e) and (f) are part of our vibrant Constitution and not dead letters”; HC rejects bail application of Comedian Munawar Faruqui

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Orissa High Court: S. K. Sahoo J., ordered the petitioner to be detained in judicial custody and rejected the prayer sought.

The present application was filed by the petitioner for interim bail on the ground that his wife is suffering from multiple types of diseases and the doctor advised her to take complete rest due to COVID-19 pandemic.  A medical prescription and medical fitness certificate certifying the medical condition of one patient namely Santosini Kanhar, who is aged about twenty-five years and she is a female and wife of the petitioner.

Counsel for the State raised doubts about the authenticity of the certificates, pursuant to which vide order dated 09-12-2020 the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Cuttack was directed to depute a responsible Senior Police Officer in the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police to enquire into the matter by examining the doctor concerned, the O.P.D. register etc. and furnish a report to this Court regarding the authenticity of such documents.

The report stated that the medical documents enclosed with the interim application have been forged and fabricated.

The Court thus observed that as per Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, ‘criminal contempt’ means, inter alia, “the publication (whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representations, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner.”

The Court further observed that law is well settled that anyone who takes recourse to fraud deflects the course of judicial proceedings; or if anything is done with oblique motive, the same interferes with the administration of justice. If a forged and fabricated document is filed in Court to get some relief, the same may amount to interference with the administration of justice and the conduct is punishable as contempt of Court. The fabrication and production of false document can be held to be interference with the due course of justice. Any interference in the course of justice, any obstruction caused in the path of those seeking justice are an affront to the majesty of law and therefore, the conduct is punishable as contempt of Court. Law of contempt is only one of many ways in which the due process of law are prevented to be perverted, hindered or thwarted to further the cause of justice. Due course of justice means not only any particular proceeding but a broad stream of administration of justice. Therefore, due course of justice used in section 2(c) or section 13 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 are of wide import and are not limited to any particular judicial proceeding.

The Court held that Gumesh Mallik has committed contempt of Court and hence has to file show cause as to why necessary action shall not be taken against him for committing criminal contempt of Court under the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.

In view of the above, petition was dismissed.[Chandramani Kanhar v. State of Odisha,  2020 SCC OnLine Ori 930, decided on 21-12-2020]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Suresh Kumar Kait, J., while addressing a bail application directed the Jail Superintendent to provide the necessary gadgets for the prisoner to attend B.A. Main Examination which will be conducted online.

Present petition was filed with the purpose to grant interim bail for a period of 45 days on account of petitioners examination for B.A programme to be held on 10th July, 2020.

Mock test series for the stated examination had already begun from 4th July, 2020 and was to be continued till 8th July, 2020. Petitioner wished to attend the remaining mock tests for practice.

It was noted that vide an order dated 22nd May, 2019 petitioner had prayed for an interim bail on the same ground as has been placed in the present petition and he was allowed to take exam while in custody.

High Court in the present petition has directed the Jail Superintendent to provide the petitioner with necessary gadgets and an instructor to operate the computer, if require, so that the petitioner can appear in the said main examination as well as mock test series which will be conducted online.

In view of the above, petition was disposed of. [Ranjeet Singh v. State of Delhi (NCT), Bail Appln. No. 1553 of 2020, decided on 06-07-2020]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud and MR Shah, JJ has granted bail to former Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra after he told the Court that both his parents, who are 81 years and 78 years of age respectively, have tested positive for Covid-19 and have been hospitalised.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Chandra, told the Court that

“The applicant has stated that his spouse is presently abroad and has been unable to return due to the lock down. The brother of the applicant, Ajay Chandra, is also in judicial custody.”

Considering the facts and circumstances, the Court said,

“a case for the grant of interim bail has been made out on humanitarian grounds since both the parents of the applicant have tested positive for COVID-19 and having regard to their advanced age.”

The Court, hence, released Chandra on interim bail for a period of thirty days from the date of his actual release, subject to the following conditions:

  • The passport of the applicant shall be deposited with the trial court
  • The applicant shall report on every Sunday before the nearest local police station;
  • The applicant shall furnish bail bonds of Rs 1 lakh to the satisfaction of the trial court; and
  • The applicant shall surrender immediately on the expiry of the period of thirty days specified above.

[Bhupinder Singh v. Unitech Limited, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 559 , order dated 07.07.2020]


Also read

SC to Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra: Deposit Rs. 750 Cr by December-end or stay in jail

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of Indira Banerjee and BR Gavai, JJ has refused to grant interim bail to Mahendra Singh Yadav, co-convict in the anti-Sikh riots case. Yadav had sought bail on account of being found to be COVID-19 positive.

The Court was informed that Yadav is in a serious condition. He has been hospitalized and is in the Intensive Care Unit. Everything possible is being done for the treatment of the petitioner

Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj also told the Court that

“all the patients are given equal treatment and there is no discrimination of the petitioner or the members of his family on the ground of incarceration of the petitioner.”

Senior Advocate R. Basant, appearing for the petitioner argued that interim bail should be granted to Yadav to enable him and/or his family to take steps in view of his deteriorating health condition. The family, however, has no grievance with regard to the treatment given to the petitioner.

Refusing to entertain the application, the Court said,

“There is, however, no specific indication and/or suggestion forthcoming from the petitioner and/or his family members as to the steps which they wish to take. There is no offer from the family to shift the petitioner to any other hospital. There is not even a whisper in the petition that any differential treatment is meted to the patient or to his relatives on the ground of incarceration of the petitioner.”

[Mahendra Singh Yadav v. High Court of Delhi, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 553  , order dated 01.07.2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Gurvinder Singh Gill, J. dismissed an application filed for seeking interim bail in view that the jail has already been decongested and does not pose any threat with regard to transmission of spread of COVID 19 also the gravity of offense has been considered one of the factors for not granting the bail.

Petition seeking grant of interim bail on account of prevalent conditions of spread of COVID 19 virus was filed.

Petitioners contended that since a large number of inmates were confined in New District Jail, Nabha and threat of spread of COVID 19 still looms large and since a policy has in fact been framed by State Government for release of prisoners, present petitioners deserve to be released on bail.

In accordance to the above-stated policy, under-trials against whom cases have been registered for offences punishable for imprisonment for a period upto 7 years, are entitled to be released on bail and that the petitioners against whom a complaint has been filed under Section 132 of GST Act, 2017 punishable for a maximum sentence of 5 years would be covered under the policy.

State Counsel submitted that as on date there is no reported case of COVID-19 in the jail premises so as to pose any threat of spread of COVID-19 in Jail and as such the apprehension of the petitioners of contracting the virus within jail premises is misconceived.

Also, Supreme Court would not vest the petitioners with any absolute right for their release on bail as also been clarified by the Supreme Court itself.

Bench noted in the present case that, the offence assumes gravity in view of the colossal amount involved in the present case which is Rs 20 crores appx. and is certainly a factor to be borne in mind while considering the release of the petitioner on interim bail.

Allegations against the petitioner also relate to forging of bills and other documents in furtherance of their designs to cause loss to State Exchequeuer which prima-facie would also attract an offence punishable under Section 467 IPC which is punishable with imprisonment for life.

Court also noted that,

“It has been clarified by the Supreme Court that the prisoners are not to be compulsorily released.”

Object of the directions issued by Supreme Court with regard to the release of prisoners was to protect the health of the prisoners and restrict transmission of COVID 19 by decongestion of prisons.

The said move of the Supreme Court cannot be treated as — windfall for all the prisoners even when there is no imminent threat or apprehension within the jail premises as on date as regards spread of pandemic. 

Thus, adding to the above observations of the bench, Court stated that after imposition of nationwide lockdown, everything came to a grinding halt and even the inflow of fresh inmates would have been drastically reduced.

As submitted by the State Counsel, there is no reported case of COVID 19 within the premises of jail, thus it can be safely said that the prisoners in New District Jail, Nabha are relatively safe

Since the Nabha Jail already stands decongested and there is no reported case of COVID-19 within the premises of jail, therefore keeping in view the nature and gravity of offence and the amount involved this Court does not deem it appropriate to grant interim bail to the petitioner.

Application stands dismissed. [Rajinder Bassi v. State of Punjab, CRM-M-11954-2020 (O&M), decided on 17-04-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: Mukta Gupta, J. dismissed a petition for grant of interim bail filed by Dr Shivendra Mohan Singh of Fortis healthcare.

Petition was filed to obtain interim bail for  a period of 60 days/eight weeks due to outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Petitioner had launched Fortis Hospital. Fortis Healthcare became the second largest Corporate group of hospitals in India and to further develop these hospitals, petitioner acquired expertise in Healthcare sector.

Petitioner was called for investigation for case registered under Sections 409, 420 and 120B of Penal Code, 1860. Further petitioner was arrested by Enforcement Directorate and taken into custody and thereafter remanded to judicial custody.

EOW and ED since filed the charge sheet and complaint respectively before the Court concerned however no charge has yet been framed against the petitioner.

Petitioner claimed the guidelines issued by Supreme Court’s constituted High Powered Committee on 28-03-2020 with regard to release of under-trial prisoners to be discriminatory and arbitrary.

Further the petitioner while being in custody prepared guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for managing health sector resources to deal with COVID-19 Pandemic in the country on the basis of expertise possessed by him and shared the same with Prime minister’s Office.

Supreme Court on 03-04-2020 allowed the petitioner’s petition with regard to interim to be withdrawn before the present Court and also directed the suggestion made by petitioner to be considered by authorities concerned.

Standing Counsel for the State contended that as per the guidelines of High powered Committee petitioner is not entitled to interim bail for de-congesting prisons as he does not fulfill the three criterias:

  • Petitioner is facing trial for offenses punishable under Section 409 IPC which is punishable uptight life imprisonment or 10 years imprisonment;
  • he is facing trial in more than 1 case and in all three cases he is not on bail
  • he is facing trial in offenses relating to Prevention of Corruption Act and prevention of Money Laundering Act

It was also added that, petitioner petitioner is lodged in a Cell where he is alone and hence the concern with regard to social distancing is also been accomplished.

Petitioner’s counsel stated that he should be granted interim bail on grounds that there should be no over-crowding in jail and to tide over this pandemic of COVID-19, petitioner on coming out will be useful to society. Thus, by the present petition only interim bail is sought.

Bench stated that petitioner being in isolation cell in view of the status report filed by Superintendent, Prisons (Headquarters) indicated that social distancing can be maintained.

Second ground of petitioner being of help to the society in view of expertise in Healthcare sector — it was noted that he had filed a petition in Supreme Court wherein it was already directed for the said suggestions to be considered by the authorities concerned and if found feasible need cooperation of petitioner then the same can be done through video-conferencing.

Thus, in view of the above, it is to be noted that petitioner being involved in offense punishable for more than 7 years of sentence and in more than 1 case that too under PMLA, he does not qualify t be released and cannot be granted interim bail. [Dr Shivendra Mohan Singh v. State of NCT of Delhi, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 545 , decided on 06-04-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: A bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud and MR Shah, JJ on asked the counsel of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in Agusta Westland VVIP chopper scam, to approach the Delhi High Court for his interim bail in wake of the coronavirus lockdown. The Court refused to express any views on the merits of the case and asked Michel’s counsel to approach the High Court for the same.

It is pertinent to note that the Supreme Court has directed all States/Union Territories to constitute a High Powered Committee to determine which class of prisoners can be released on parole or an interim bail for such period as may be thought appropriate.

Michel had approached the Supreme Court for interim bail in light of prevalent conditions owing to COVID-19 in the country. The interim bail  has also been pending with Delhi High Court but has not been taken up for consideration. Michel was earlier directed to wait for the decision of a High-Powered Committee, which was set-up by the Delhi government to decongest the jails in the national capital. However, Michel’s case was not considered for grant of bail by the committee. Thereafter, the British national approached the Supreme Court seeking interim bail.

Michel, in his bail plea, claimed that he falls within the class of people more vulnerable to coronavirus and his health condition is very critical and incompatible with the current prison status under the COVID-19 crisis.

Michel was extradited from Dubai in 2018 and is currently lodged in Tihar Jail in connection with alleged irregularities in the chopper deal. While the CBI is probing his alleged role as a ‘middleman’ in the deal, the ED is investigating money laundering charges against him.

(Source: ANI)

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Arvind Singh Sagwan J. allowed the present application and ordered a departmental inquiry against the officers on the ground of lapse in investigation.

A petition for regular bail under Code of Criminal Procedure was filed for the offence under Section 18 of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. The interim bail was granted to the petitioner.

The facts of the case were that a car was stopped by the police which was driven by the petitioner. The Investigation officer gave them an option to be searched before either a gazette officer or before a Magistrate and in reply of which a non-consent memo was recorded which was jointly signed by accused. There after the opium was recovered which was carried by accused.

The Court opined that the procedure adopted by the Investigation officer and DSP while recording the joint non-consent as well as consent memo was not as per the principle applied down by the Supreme Court in the case  of  State of Rajasthan v. Parmanand, wherein it has been held that considering the stringent provisions under the NDPS Act, the right available to an accused person under Section 50 of the NDPS Act, to be searched before a Gazetted Officer or a Magistrate, will be frustrated in case clear, unambiguous and individual offer is not given to the accused person. It is further held that joint communication of a right may not be clear or unequivocal as it may create confusion and may result in diluting the right. Thus, appropriate departmental action in the matter for a serious lapse in the investigation was ordered by the court. Also, the petition was allowed and the interim bail was made absolute.[Harjit Singh v. State of Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 1426, decided on 16-08-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Ajay Tewari J. passed an order of the bail as the applicant was already granted with bail by the trial court.

An application under Section 439 of Code of Criminal Procedure was made for the grant of the anticipatory bail for the offence registered under Sections 420, 465, 471, 467, 120-B the Penal Code, 1860.

The facts of the case were that the complainant had come into the contact of Sujoy Biswas who assured her a job in Go Air Company and on that pretext, the petitioner took a lot of money from her and misappropriated it and they handed over fake appointment letters. However, when the complainant approached Go Air, she came to know that the document was fake.

S.R. Hooda, counsel for the petitioner argued that no role was attributed to him in the present case and that the applicant was already in custody for five months.

Amarjit Kaur Khurana, counsel for the State argued that the petitioner was an integral part of the whole scam scene and prayed for the dismissal of the application. It was further submitted that Sujoy Biswas has been granted conditional bail and the condition was that he will create a fixed deposit of Rs 1 lakhs and will keep it with the Trial Court.

High Court opined that as the trial court has passed an order of the bail, it was appropriate to grant the petitioner subject to some condition and thus passed an order of the interim bail to the satisfaction of the trial court.[Manoj Kumar v. State of Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 1006, decided on 31-05-2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of RK Agarwal and AM Sapre, JJ refused to interfere with the order of the Punjab & Haryana High Court that had granted interim bail to the Pinto Family in relation to the murder of Pradyuman Thakur, a 7-year-old boy, studying in the Ryan International School.

The Court noticed that as the investigation in the murder case was still under progress and the CBI was yet to come to a conclusion regarding the involvement of Ryan Pinto, Dr. Augustine Francis Pinto and Grace Pinto, who are the top management executive of the Ryan International School, there is no ground to interfere with the order of the High Court.

After Pradyuman Thakur’s murder on 08.09.2017, a Resolution was passed on 09.09.2017 by the District Bar Association, Gurugram condemning the brutal and dastardly act of the accused unanimously resolving that no Member of the Bar would appear/represent the accused before the Court or any other Forum. A similar Resolution was passed by the District Bar Association, Sohna. The resolution was, however, withdrawn later.

Pradyuman Thakur’s father has appealed against the order of the High Court on the ground that the Pinto Family ought to have approached the Sessions Court, Gurugram, instead of directly approaching the High Court when on 15.09.2017, the Resolution passed by the District Bar Associations Gurugram and Sohna dated 09.09.2017 to the effect that no lawyer will represent the accused in the instant matter, stood withdrawn.

Refusing to agree with the said plea, the Court said that the Pinto Family cannot be held guilty of any suppression, concealment or fraud in this matter for the simple reason that the petitions were prepared on 15.09.2017 and accepted by the Registry of the Punjab & Haryana High Court on 17.09.2017. The fact relating to the withdrawal of the Resolution passed by the District Bar Associations, Gurugram and Sohna cannot be said to be in their knowledge.

The Court also said:

“we cannot lose sight of the fact that this incident had received wide coverage in the media, both electronic and print. In fact, it can be said that there was a trial by media, therefore, when the private respondents have directly approached the High Court for grant of anticipatory/interim bail under Section 438 of the Code, that too when the High Court has concurrent jurisdiction, we cannot find any fault with the action of the private respondents.”

[Barun Chandra Thakur v. Central Bureau of Investigation, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 1450, decided on 11.12.2017]