Landmark Supreme Court 2020 Judgment on Bail

Landmark Supreme Court 2020 judgment on bail

  •  A High Court in its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution has the power to grant bail in a suitable case

A High Court in its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India has the power to grant bail in a suitable case, noted a division bench of Supreme Court while granting bail to Arnab Goswami in a habeas corpus petition.

“In an application under Article 226, the High Court must be circumspect in exercising its powers to grant bail on the basis of the facts of each case. However, the High Court should not foreclose itself from the exercise of the power when a citizen has been arbitrarily deprived of their personal liberty in an excess of state power,” it said.

Case name: Arnab Manoranjan Goswami v. State of Maharashtra

Coram: Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee 

  • A person cannot file an anticipatory bail application apprehending arrest following the cancellation of his regular bail

The Apex Court has held that a person cannot file an anticipatory bail application apprehending arrest following the cancellation of his regular bail. There cannot be an apprehension of arrest by a person already in the ‘constructive custody’ of the law, it said.

“A person released on bail is already in the constructive custody of law. If the law requires him to come back to custody for specified reasons, we are afraid that an application for anticipatory bail apprehending arrest will not lie. There cannot be an apprehension of arrest by a person already in the constructive custody of the law. We, therefore, reject the prayer for anticipatory bail,” the Court observed.

Case name: Manish Jain v. Haryana Pollution Control Board

Coram: Justices Navin Sinha and KM Joseph 

Read More: A Person Cannot File an Anticipatory Bail Application Apprehending Arrest Following the Cancellation of his Regular Bail: SC

  • Protection under Anticipatory Bail can’t be limited to a fixed period

Reiterating the dictum of Shri Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia & Ors. v. State of Punjab (1980) 2 SCC 565 the Apex Court ruled that pre-arrest bail under Section 438 of Code of Criminal should not be invariably limited to a fixed period. But if there are any special or peculiar features necessitating the Court to limit the tenure of anticipatory bail, it is open for it to do so. Further, the Bench also noted that the life or duration of an anticipatory bail order does not end normally at the time and stage when the accused is summoned by the court, or when charges are framed, but can continue till the end of the trial, except in special or peculiar conditions.  In normal circumstances Section 437 (3) read with Section 438 (2) should be imposed.

The Court also examined in its judgment the impact of recovery under Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act on the bail granted.

“One of such conditions can even be that in the event of the police making out a case of a likely discovery under Section 27 of the Evidence Act, person released on bail shall be liable to be taken in police custody for facilitating the discovery. Besides, if and when the occasion arises, it may be possible for the prosecution to claim the benefit of Section 27 of the Evidence Act in regard to a discovery of facts made in pursuance of information supplied by a person released on bail by invoking the principle stated by this Court in State of U.P. v Deoman Upadhyaya,” the Court said.

Case name: Sushila Aggarwal & Ors. v. State (NCT of Delhi) & Anr.

Coram: Justices MR Shah, S. Ravindra Bhat, Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee and Vineet Saran

  • The factors like gravity and seriousness of offences alleged against an accused by themselves cannot be the basis for refusal of prayer for bail.

The factors like gravity and seriousness of offences alleged against an accused by themselves cannot be the basis for refusal of prayer for bail, held the Apex Court while hearing an appeal against an Allahabad High Court order that granted bail to two accused persons allegedly involved in a murder case.

“The offence alleged no doubt is grave and serious and there are several criminal cases pending against the accused. However, these factors by themselves cannot be the basis for refusal of prayer for bail,” it said.

Case name: Prabhakar Tewari v. State of UP

Coram: Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose 

  •  There cannot be liberal approach in the matter of bail in NDPS Cases

A bench of Apex Court noted that there cannot be liberal approach in the matter of bail in NDPS Cases. It said that the Court has to record a finding mandated under Section 37 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, and the same is a sine qua non for granting bail to the accused under the NDPS Act.

“The operative part of the said section is in the negative form prescribing the enlargement of bail to any person accused of commission of an offence under the Act, unless twin conditions are satisfied. The first condition is that the prosecution must be given an opportunity to oppose the application; and the second, is that the Court must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of such offence. If either of these two conditions is not satisfied, the ban for granting bail operates,” it noted.

Case name: State of Kerala v. Rajesh

Coram: Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Ajay Rastogi 

[ Landmark Supreme Court 2020 judgment on bail ]

  • Mere passage of time during the pendency of the appeal cannot be a ground to suspend the sentence and grant bail in NDPS Cases

Mere passage of time during the pendency of the appeal cannot be a ground to suspend the sentence and grant bail in NDPS Cases.

“There is no doubt that the rigors of Section 37 would have to be met before the sentence of a convict is suspended and bail granted and mere passage of time cannot be a reason for the same,” the Court said.

Case name: Sheru v. NCB

Coram: Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari 

  • A child in conflict with law has to be placed under the charge of the special juvenile police unit or the designated child welfare officer only

The Court observed that Section 10 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 lay down that a child in conflict with law has to be placed under the charge of the special juvenile police unit or the designated child welfare officer only and not under regular police custody. Further, Section 12 of the Act specifies that Bail is the rule in case of juveniles.

All JJBs in the country must follow the letter and spirit of the provisions of the Act. We make it clear that the JJBs are not meant to be silent spectators and pass orders only when a matter comes before them. They can take note of the factual situation if it comes to the knowledge of the JJBs that a child has been detained in prison or police lock up. It is the duty of the JJBs to ensure that the child is immediately granted bail or sent to an observation home or a place of safety. The Act cannot be flouted by anybody, least of all the police,” the Court noted.

Case name: In Re: Exploitation of Children in Orphanages in State of Tamil Nadu v. Union of India

Coram: Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose 

  • The conditions which a court imposes for the grant of bail have to balance the public interest with the rights of the accused

The conditions which a court imposes for the grant of bail have to balance the public interest in the enforcement of criminal justice with the rights of the accused.

“The language of Section 437(3) of the CrPC which uses the expression “any condition… otherwise in the interest of justice” has been construed in several decisions of this court. Though the competent court is empowered to exercise its discretion to impose “any condition” for the grant of bail under Sections 437 (3) and 439 (1) (a) of the CrPC, the discretion of the court has to be guided by the need to facilitate the administration of justice, secure the presence of the accused and ensure that the liberty of the accused is not misused to impede the investigation, overawe the witnesses or obstruct the course of justice,” it noted.

Advertisement

The Court further added, “The human right to dignity and the protection of constitutional safeguards should not become illusory by the imposition of conditions which are disproportionate to the need to secure the presence of the accused, the proper course of investigation and eventually to ensure a fair trial.

Case name: Parvez Noordin Lokhandwalla v. State of Maharashtra

Coram: Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee 

[ Landmark Supreme Court 2020 judgment on bail ]

  • Suo moto order extending limitation and the lockdown restrictions of the government will not affect the right of an accused to seek default bail

The Top Court ruled that its suo moto order extending limitation and the lockdown restrictions of the government will not affect the right of an accused to seek default bail under Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The Court made this observations while  set aside the judgment of a single bench of the Madras High Court in S Kasi v State through the Inspector of Police, which had held the time to file chargesheet under Section 167(2) CrPC will also get extended on account of the SC order extending limitation and the lockdown restrictions.

The Court apprehended that the if the view of the HC single bench was accepted, it could lead to police taking extra liberties even with respect to production of accused after arrest.

“If the interpretation by learned Single Judge in the impugned judgment is taken to its logical end, due to difficulties and due to present pandemic, Police may also not produce an accused within 24 hours before the Magistrate’s Court as contemplated by Section 57 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973”.

The Court also observed that the view taken by the impugned judgment “sends wrong signals to the State and the prosecution emboldening them to act in breach of liberty of a person”.

Case name: S. Kasi v. State

Coram: Justices Ashok Bhushan, M R Shah and V Ramasubramanian 

  •  While granting default bail/ statutory bail under Section 167(2) of CrPC, condition of deposit of amount cannot be imposed.

The Apex Court had ruled that while granting default bail/ statutory bail under Section 167(2) of CrPC, condition of deposit of amount cannot be imposed.

“The only requirement for getting the default bail/statutory bail under Section 167(2), Cr.P.C. is that the accused is in jail for more than 60 or 90 days, as the case may be, and within 60 or 90 days, as the case may be, the investigation is not completed and no 9 chargesheet is filed by 60th or 90th day and the accused applies for default bail and is prepared to furnish bail. No other condition of deposit of the alleged amount involved can be imposed. Imposing such condition while releasing the accused on default bail/statutory bail would frustrate the very object and purpose of default bail under Section 167(2), Cr.P.C.As observed by this Court in the case of Rakesh Kumar Paul (supra) and in other decisions, the accused is entitled to default bail/statutory bail, subject to the eventuality occurring in Section 167, Cr.P.C., namely, investigation is not completed within 60 days or 90 days, as the case may be, and no chargesheet is filed by 60th or 90th day and the accused applies for default bail and is prepared to furnish bail,” it said.

Further, the Court noted that the circumstances while considering the regular bail application under Section 437 Cr.P.C. are different, while considering the application for default bail /statutory bail.

Case name: Saravanan v. State

Coram: Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah 

  • The accused gets an indefeasible right to ‘default bail’ if he makes an application after the maximum period for investigation of an offence is over

The accused gets an indefeasible right to ‘default bail’ if he makes an application after the maximum period for investigation of an offence is over, and before a charge sheet is filed, noted the Top Court.

It observed, “A conspectus of the aforesaid decisions would show that so long as an application for grant of default bail is made on expiry of the period of 90 days (which application need not even be in writing) before a charge sheet is filed, the right to default bail becomes complete. It is of no moment that the Criminal Court in question either does not dispose of such application before the charge sheet is filed or disposes of such application wrongly before such charge sheet is filed. So long as an application has been made for default bail on expiry of the stated period before time is further extended to the maximum period of 180 days, default bail, being an indefeasible right of the accused under the first proviso to Section 167(2), kicks in and must be granted.

Case name: Bikramjit Singh v. State of Punjab

Coram: RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and KM Joseph 

  •  Courts should inform the accused of the availability of their indefeasible right to avail ‘default bail’ once it accrues to them

Noting that the objects of Section 167(2) of CrPC are subsets of the overarching fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21, a Bench of Apex Court ruled  that Courts should inform the accused of the availability of their indefeasible right to avail ‘default bail’ once it accrues to them. The bench also observed that if the Court deliberately does not decide the bail application but adjourns the case by granting time to the prosecution, it would be in violation of the legislative mandate.

“As a cautionary measure, the counsel for the accused as well as the magistrate ought to inform the accused of the availability of the indefeasible right under Section 167(2) once it accrues to him, without any delay. This is especially where the accused is from an underprivileged section of society and is unlikely to have access to information about his legal rights. Such knowledge­-sharing by magistrates will thwart any dilatory tactics by the prosecution and also ensure that the obligations spelled out under Article 21 of the Constitution and the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the CrPC are upheld,” the Judgment said.

Case name: M. Ravindran v. Intelligence Officer

Coram: Justices UU Lalit, Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran

  • A ‘default bail’ illegally or erroneously granted under Section 167(2) Cr.PC can be cancelled under Section 439(2) Cr.PC

A ‘default bail’ illegally or erroneously granted under Section 167(2) Cr.PC can be cancelled under Section 439(2) Cr.PC, a bench of Supreme Court noted.

“The proviso to Section 167  itself clarifies that every person released on bail under Section 167(2) shall be deemed to be so released under Chapter XXXIII. Therefore, if a person is illegally or erroneously released on bail under Section 167(2), his bail can be cancelled by passing appropriate order under Section 439(2) CrPC. This Court in Puran v. Rambilas [(2001) 6 SCC 338] has also clarified that the concept of setting aside an unjustified, illegal or perverse order is totally different from the concept of cancelling the bail on the ground that the accused has misconducted himself or because of some new facts requiring such cancellation” it held.

Case name: Venkatesan Balasubramaniyan v. Intelligence Officer, DRI, Bangalore

Coram: Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah 

Read More: A ‘Default Bail’ Illegally or Erroneously Granted under Sec 167(2) Cr.PC may be Annulled under Sec 439(2) CrPC: SC

Landmark Supreme Court 2020 judgment on bail

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *