Bail not the Jail is the principle in Criminal Law of India

Final judgment in Arnab Goswami case:

The High Court was of the view that the prayers for interim relief proceeded on the premise that the appellant had been illegally detained and since he was in judicial custody, it would not entertain the request for bail or for stay of the investigation in the exercise of its extra-ordinary jurisdiction. The High Court held that since the appellant was in judicial custody, it was open to him to avail of the remedy of bail under Section 439 of the CrPC. The High Court declined prima facie to consider the submission of the appellant that the allegations in the FIR, read as they stand,do not disclose the commission of an offence under Section 306 of the IPC. That is how the case has come to Supreme Court.

Human Liberty

Human liberty is a precious constitutional value,which is undoubtedly subject to regulation by validly enacted legislation.As such, the citizen is subject to the edicts of criminal law and procedure.Section 482 recognizes the inherent power of the High Court to make such orders as are necessary to give effect to the provisions of the CrPC ―or prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.

Respondents are right in submitting that the procedural hierarchy of courts in matters concerning the grant of bail needs to be respected. However, there was a failure of the High Court to discharge its adjudicatory function at two levels –first in declining to evaluate prima facie at the interim stage in a petition for quashing the FIR as to whether an arguable case has been made out, and secondly, in declining interim bail, as a consequence of its failure to render a prima facie opinion on the first. The High Court did have the power to protect the citizen by an interim order in a petition invoking Article226. Where the High Court has failed to do so, this Court would be abdicating its role and functions as a constitutional court if it refuses to interfere, despite the parameters for such interference being met. The doors of this Court cannot be closed to a citizen who is able to establish prima facie that the instrumentality of the State is being weaponized for using the force of criminal law. Our courts must ensure that they continue to remain the first line of defense against the deprivation of the liberty of citizens. Deprivation of liberty even for a single day is one day too many. We must always be mindful of the deeper systemic implications of our decisions

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Supreme Court grants bail to Arnab Goswami

The Supreme Court has passed following orders on 11 November 2020:

We are of the considered view that the High Court was in error in rejecting the applications for the grant of interim bail. We accordingly order and direct that Arnab Manoranjan Goswami, Feroz Mohammad Shaikh and Neetish Sarda shall be released on interim bail, subject to each of them executing a personal bond in the amount of Rs 50,000 to be executed before the Jail Superintendent.

(Emphasis Supplied)

The Supreme Court has kept the SLP(Crl) No. 005598 – 005598/2020 (Crl.A. No. 000742 – 000742/2020) pending for final orders on a later date.

Read the full order here:
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A book about law relating to Bail or Jail

Law relating arrest, bail and personal liberty in India is governed by various legislations as also a number of precedents.

Click here to read free sample of Bail at Google Play Books.

Click here to read free sample of Bail or Jail at Amazon Kindle.

An ebook about law relating to Bail in India. It helps to determine how to get out of prison or jail quickly by explaining all aspects of this branch of Criminal Law.

As regards legislations, it is governed by Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. Offences governed by Indian Penal Code 1860 besides other specialised laws e.g. Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, Benami Property Act or Customs Act, 1962 etc.

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Bail to an accused not arrested during investigation

Allegations of Cheating

Learned counsel for the complainant vehemently contended that the appellant had duped him of a considerable amount of money and that looking to the seriousness of the allegations against him, this was not a case in which the appellant ought to be granted bail by this Court. Learned counsel supported the view taken by the trial judge as well as by the Allahabad High Court. He argued that given the conduct of the appellant in not only cheating the complainant and depriving him of a considerable sum of money but thereafter issuing a cheque for which payment was stopped made it an appropriate case for dismissal.

Conduct of Investigation:

During the entire period of investigations which appear to have been spread over seven months, the appellant was not arrested by the investigating officer. Even when the appellant apprehended that he might be arrested after the charge sheet was filed against him, he was not arrested for a considerable period of time. When he approached the Allahabad High Court for quashing the FIR lodged against him, he was granted two months time to appear before the trial judge. All these facts are an indication that there was no apprehension that the appellant would abscond or would hamper the trial in any manner. That being the case, the trial judge, as well as the High Court ought to have judiciously exercised discretion and granted bail to the appellant. It is nobody’s case that the appellant is a shady character and there is nothing on record to indicate that the appellant had earlier been involved in any unacceptable activity, let alone any alleged illegal activity.

[Source: Dataram Singh vs The State of Uttar Pradesh decided by SC on 6 February, 2018]

P. Chidambram is entitled to bail, says Supreme Court of India

Consideration of documents in sealed cover:

While the learned Judge was empowered to look at the materials produced in a sealed cover to satisfy his judicial conscience, the learned Judge ought not to have recorded finding based on the materials produced in a sealed cover. Further while deciding the same case of the appellant in Crl. Appeal No.1340 of 2019, after holding so, this Court had consciously refrained from opening the sealed cover and perusing the documents lest some observations are made thereon after perusal of the same, which would prejudice the accused pre-trial. In that circumstance though it is held that it would be open for the Court to peruse the documents, it would be against the concept of fair trial if in every case the prosecution presents documents in sealed cover and the findings on the same are recorded as if the offence is committed and the same is treated as having a bearing for denial or grant of bail.

Having said so, in present circumstance we were not very much inclined to open the sealed cover although the materials in sealed cover was received from the respondent. However, since the learned Single Judge of the High Court had perused the documents in sealed cover and arrived at certain conclusion and since that order is under challenge, it had become imperative for us to also open the sealed cover and peruse the contents so as to satisfy ourselves to that extent. On perusal we have taken note that the statements of persons concerned have been recorded and the details collected have been collated. The recording of statements and the collation of material is in the nature of allegation against one of the co-accused Karti Chidambaram- son of appellant of opening shell companies and also purchasing benami properties in the name of relatives at various places in different countries. Except for recording the same, we do not wish to advert to the documents any further since ultimately, these are allegations which would have to be established in the trial wherein the accused/co-accused would have the opportunity of putting forth their case, if any, and an ultimate conclusion would be reached. Hence in our opinion, the finding recorded by the learned Judge of the High Court based on the material in sealed cover is not justified.

Grant of Bail:

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Terrorism is a crime against humanity.

Terrorism in India:

The country has been in the firm grip of spiralling terrorist violence and is caught between deadly pangs of disruptive activities. Apart from many skirmishes in various parts of the country, there were countless serious and horrendous events engulfing many cities with blood bath, firing, looting, mad killing even without sparing women and children and reducing those areas into a graveyard, which brutal atrocities have rocked and shocked the whole nation. Deplorably determined youth, lured by hard-core criminals and underground extremists and attracted by the ideology of terrorism are indulging in committing serious crimes against the humanity.

[Source: Kartar Singh v. State of Punjab, (1994) 3 SCC 569]

Terrorism is an evil affecting the life and liberty of peace loving people. Terrorism has no barriers, it may strike anybody anytime, any amount of precautionary measures and security arrangements may prove futile to combat terrorism. Fundamental rights to individual liberty is certainly valuable. But when it is pitted against the life and liberty of the people at large, it becomes insignificant. Terrorism effects the growth of the nation. The resources of the nation have to be utilized to combat terrorism: it could be utilized in better ways for the betterment of the people. Offences against individuals are to be distinguished from offences affecting nation and people at large. Parameters to be adopted in the matter of considering the pleas of bail would also be different in these cases. A strict approach in the latter category of cases is justified. Sympathy has no rule in dealing with such cases. Continue reading “Terrorism is a crime against humanity.”

Ex Finance Minister Chidambram is not entitled to bail.

The background of P. Chidambram:

P.Chidambram is a Senior Advocate practicing in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India with 49 years of standing at the Bar, of which 35 years as a Senior Advocate. Currently, he is Member of Parliament (RS). He was formerly Union Minister of Finance (1996-1998, 2004-2008 and 2012-2014) and Union Minister of Home Affairs (2008-2012). He is a member of the Indian National Congress, which is the principal Opposition Party in Parliament, and has been in public life for over 40years. The Petitioner is also a senior Spokesperson of the Congress Party as well as a prominent and widely-read columnist.

The allegations against P. Chidmbram:

It is alleged that during the period from 15.11.2016 to 19.11.2016 huge cash to the tune of Rs. 31.75 crores was deposited in eight bank accounts in Kotak Mahindra Bank in the accounts of “group of companies”. The statements recorded during investigation have evidentiary value under Section 50 PMLA. Prima facie, the version given by them is in consonance with the prosecution case.

The stated activity allegedly indulged into by the accused named in the commission of predicate offence is replete with mens rea. In that, the concealment,possession, acquisition or use of the property by projecting or claiming it as untainted property and converting the same by bank drafts, would certainly come within the sweep of criminal activity relating to a scheduled offence. That would come within the meaning of Section 3 and punishable under Section 4 of the Act. Continue reading “Ex Finance Minister Chidambram is not entitled to bail.”

Anticipatory bail in allegations of money laundering by ex Minister, P. Chidambaram

Money-laundering is the process of concealing illicit sources of money and the launderer transforming the money proceeds derived from criminal activity into funds and moved to other institution or transformed into legitimate asset.

It is realised world around that money laundering poses a serious threat not only to the financial systems of the countries but also to their integrity and sovereignty. The Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 was enacted in pursuance of the Political Declaration adopted by the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly held in June 1998, calling upon the Member States to adopt national money-laundering legislation and programme, primarily with a view to meet out the serious threat posed by money laundering to the financial system of the countries and to their integrity and sovereignty.

The predicate offences are under Sections 120B IPC and 420 IPC, Section 8 and Section 13(2) read with Section 13(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act. Case is registered against the appellant and others under Sections 3 and 4 of PMLA. The main point falling for consideration is whether the appellant is entitled to the privilege of anticipatory bail.

Decision of Supreme Court:

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Power of Court to release on personal bond.

Can an accused seek to be released on personal bail bond without an application to be released on bail?

Section 88 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is as under:

88. Power to take bond for appearance. When any person for whose appearance or arrest the officer presiding in any Court is empowered to issue a summons or warrant, is present in such Court, such officer may require such person to execute a bond, with or without sureties, for his appearance in such Court, or any other Court to which the case may be transferred for trial.

‘May’ if mandatory or confers discretion on the court?

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