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Puneet Dalmia Vs. Central Bureau of Investigation, Hyderabad - (Supreme Court) (16 Dec 2019)

If a Court is satisfied that, personal attendance of an Accused before it need not be insisted on, then Court has power to dispense with attendance of Accused

MANU/SC/1747/2019

Criminal

In facts of present case, the Appellant submitted an application before the learned Trial Court under Section 205 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) for dispensing with his personal appearance/attendance. The learned Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases, Hyderabad dismissed the said application. Aggrieved by the order passed by the learned Trial Court, the Appellant preferred a petition before the High Court. By the impugned judgment and order, the High Court has dismissed the said petition and has confirmed the order passed by the learned Trial Court rejecting the application submitted by the Appellant and has refused the exemption from personal appearance of the Appellant before the learned Trial Court. Hence, the present appeal.

Learned Senior Advocates appearing on behalf of the Appellant have vehemently submitted that, in the facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court as well as the learned Trial Court have committed a grave error in not allowing the application submitted by the Appellant from exempting him to appear before the learned Trial Court on every Friday.

The Appellant is appearing before the learned Trial Court on each and every Friday since 2013. Nothing is on record that, at any point of time the Appellant has tried to delay the trial. The Appellant is represented through his counsel. The Appellant is a permanent resident of Delhi. He is the Director on the Boards of several companies. The distance between Delhi and Hyderabad is approximately 1500 kms. Therefore, the Appellant sought for exemption from personal appearance before the learned Trial Court on each and every Friday and submitted the application under Section 205 of CrPC and submitted that on all dates of adjournments, his counsel Reddy shall appear and no adjournment shall be asked for on his behalf.

In the cases of Bhaskar Industries Ltd. v. Bhiwani Denim and Apparels Ltd. and Rameshwar Yadav and Ors. v. The State of Bihar and Ors., this Court had the occasion to consider the scope and ambit of the application under Section 205 of CrPC. In the case of Bhaskar Industries Ltd. v. Bhiwani Denim and Apparels Ltd. and ors., this Court has observed that, if a Court is satisfied that in the interest of justice the personal attendance of an Accused before it need not be insisted on, then the court has the power to dispense with the attendance of the Accused. It is further observed by this Court in the aforesaid decision that if a court feels that insisting on the personal attendance of an Accused in a peculiar case would be too harsh on account of a variety of reasons, the Court can grant relief to such an Accused in the matter of facing the prosecution proceedings. The normal Rule is that the evidence shall be taken in the presence of the Accused. However, even in the absence of the Accused, such evidence can be taken but then his counsel must be present in the court, provided he has been granted exemption from attending the court.

It is true that in the aforesaid two cases before this Court, the offences alleged were less serious offences than alleged in the present case. However, the principles for grant of exemption as observed by this Court in the case of Bhaskar Industries Ltd. v. Bhiwani Denim and Apparels Ltd. and ors. can be made applicable to the facts of the case on hand also and the Appellant can be granted the exemption on certain conditions and on filing an undertaking by the Appellant, by which the interest of justice can be protected and grant of exemption may not ultimately affect the conclusion of the trial at the earliest.

The impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court as well as that of the learned Trial Court rejecting the application submitted by the Appellant under Section 205 of CrPC are hereby quashed. Appeal allowed.

Relevant : Bhaskar Industries Ltd. v. Bhiwani Denim and Apparels Ltd. and ors. MANU/SC/0489/2001, Rameshwar Yadav and Ors. v. The State of Bihar and Ors. MANU/SC/0258/2018

Tags : APPEARANCE   EXEMPTION   ENTITLEMENT  

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