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Vipan Kumar Dhir vs. State of Punjab and Ors. - (Supreme Court) (04 Oct 2021)

Superior Court can interfere in an order of bail to prevent the miscarriage of justice on basis of gravity of the offence, conduct of the accused and societal impact

MANU/SC/0781/2021

Criminal

The challenge laid is to an order passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana whereby anticipatory bail has been granted to Respondent No.2 (‘Respondent­Accused’), who is the mother­in­law of the deceased and is charged under Sections 304B, 302 read with 120B of Indian Penal Code, 1860 ( “I.P.C.”).

The aggrieved Complainant submits that, the High Court has committed a grave error of law in over­looking the well­established principles which guide courts to exercise their discretion in the matter of granting anticipatory bail.

The cancellation of bail is to be dealt on a different footing in comparison to a proceeding for grant of bail. It is necessary that ‘cogent and overwhelming reasons’ are present for the cancellation of bail. Conventionally, there can be supervening circumstances which may develop post the grant of bail and are non- conducive to fair trial, making it necessary to cancel the bail. These principles have been reiterated time and again, more recently by a 3­judge Bench of present Court in X vs. State of Telegana and Another.

Bail can also be revoked where the Court has considered irrelevant factors or has ignored relevant material available on record which renders the order granting bail legally untenable. The gravity of the offence, conduct of the accused and societal impact of an undue indulgence by Court when the investigation is at the threshold, are also amongst a few situations, where a Superior Court can interfere in an order of bail to prevent the miscarriage of justice and to bolster the administration of criminal justice system. This Court has repeatedly viewed that, while granting bail, especially anticipatory bail which is per se extraordinary in nature, the possibility of the accused to influence prosecution witnesses, threatening the family members of the deceased, fleeing from justice or creating other impediments in the fair investigation, ought not to be overlooked.

Each case has its own unique factual scenario which holds the key for adjudication of bail matters including cancellation thereof. The offence alleged in the instant case is heinous and protrudes our medieval social structure which still wails for reforms despite multiple efforts made by Legislation and Judiciary.

In the case in hand, the High Court seems to have been primarily swayed by the fact that, the Respondent­Accused was ‘co-operating’ with investigation. This is, however, contrary to the record as the Respondent­Accused remained absconding for more than two years after being declared a proclaimed offender on 23rd April, 2018. She chose to join investigation only after securing interim bail from the High Court. She kept on hiding from the Investigating Agency as well as Magistrate’s Court till she got protection against arrest from the High Court in the 2nd round of bail proceedings.

Even if there was any procedural irregularity in declaring the Respondent­Accused as an absconder, that by itself was not a justifiable ground to grant pre­arrest bail in a case of grave offence save where the High Court on perusal of case diary and other material on record is, prima facie, satisfied that it is a case of false or over- exaggerated accusation. Such being not the case here, the High Court went on a wrong premise in granting anticipatory bail to the Respondent­Accused. The impugned order of the High Court is set aside. The Respondent­Accused is directed to surrender before the Trial Court.

Tags : BAIL   GRANT   VALIDITY  

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