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Section 202 of Cr.P.C.Postponement of issue of process.

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(1) Any Magistrate, on receipt of a complaint of an offence of which he is authorised to take cognizance or which has been made over to him under section 192, may, if he thinks fit, postpone the issue of process against the accused, and either inquire into the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by a police officer or by such other person as he thinks fit, for the purpose of deciding whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding: Provided that no such direction for investigation shall be made,–

(a) where it appears to the Magistrate that the offence complained of is triable exclusively by the Court of Session; or

(b) where the complaint has not been made by a Court, unless the complainant and the witnesses present (if any) have been examined on oath under section 200.

(2) In an inquiry under sub- section (1), the Magistrate may, if he thinks fit, take evidence of witnesses on oath: Provided that if it appears to the Magistrate that the offence complained of is triable exclusively by the Court of Session, he shall call upon the complainant to produce all his witnesses and examine them on oath.

(3) If an investigation under sub- section (1) is made by a person not being a police officer, he shall have for that investigation all the powers conferred by this Code on an officer- in- charge of a police station except the power to arrest without warrant.


 

Punjab-Haryana High Court

S.K. Bhowmik vs S.K. Arora And Anr.

Bench: R Singh

JUDGMENT Ranjit Singh, J.

  1. Invoking the amended provisions of Section 202 Cr.P.C., this petition for quashing the complaint and summoning order is filed by the petitioner with the submission that it is obligatory upon the Magistrate to enquire into the case before summoning an accused residing beyond his jurisdiction. Noticing the contentions raised on behalf of the petitioner that no enquiry, as envisaged under Section 202 Cr.P.C., was held before summoning the petitioner, notice of motion in this case was issued.
  2. During the course of hearing, submissions are made by the counsel representing the parties. There does not appear to be much differences on the basic issue arising for consideration due to this amendment incorporated in Section 202 Cr.P.C. Mostly concerned with the debate on the legal issue so raised, the counsel did not make any submission before the court if the impugned order is revisable or the fact that the enquiry in this case was held by the Magistrate before summoning the petitioner or not. There was otherwise a consensus between the counsel appearing for the petitioner and contesting respondent that enquiry would now be mandatory in a case where an accused person is found to be residing beyond the jurisdiction of a Magistrate dealing with the case. There was some debate about the nature of this enquiry. There may not have been any requirement to go into the scope of the amendment introduced and the effect thereof in view of the consensus between the counsel, yet it may be appropriate to go into this aspect as the issue was indeed debated before the court.
  3. To appreciate the submissions made, it would be essential to have a peep into the history of this provision. Section 202 Cr.P.C. makes a provision for postponement of an issue on process and has undergone modifications from time to time. Before its amendment, which came into force on 23.6.2006, Section 202 Cr.P.C. was a substantial reproduction of old Section 202 with certain modifications. Under the old Section, the Magistrate was required to record reasons in writing if he wanted to postpone the issue of process, which requirement, was done away with on the basis of recommendation made by the Law Commission. While recommending the deletion of this requirement, the Law Commission felt that no real purpose would be served by any expression of judicial opinion at that stage. Accordingly, words “for reason to be recorded in writing” occurring in Sub-section (1) of Section 202 were deleted. Originally, this section permitted a Magistrate to direct an enquiry or investigation by any Magistrate subordinate to him when he received any complaint. This again was deleted on the recommendation of the Law Commission, which observed that case was ultimately to be decided by the Magistrate himself and if the evidence is to be finally weighed by a particular Magistrate, it is proper that it should be heard by the same Magistrate. The division of responsibility, which was implied in this section, was considered wholly undesirable. Another change, which had come in this section, is the replacement of words “a scrutiny, a truth or falsehood of the complaint” as existing in the old sub-section with the words “deciding whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding”. It was felt that the former words, noted here-in-before, did not represent the real purpose of preliminary enquiry. Truth or falsehood of a complaint is not open to be decided at the stage of summoning an accused. It was also felt that real purpose of enquiry is to ascertain whether the grounds exist for proceeding or not. Even Clause (a) in the proviso to Sub-section (1) was also a newly added provision. Sub-section (1) of Section 202 Cr.P.C. before recent amendment reads as under:

 

  1. Postponement of issue of process.-(1) Any Magistrate, on receipt of a complaint of an offence of which he is authorised to take cognizance or which has been made over to him under Section 192, may, if he thinks fit, postpone the issue of process against the accused, and either enquire into the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by a police officer or by such other person as he thinks fit, for the purpose of deciding whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding.
  2. The recent amendment in the year 2006 now makes the sub-section read as under:
  3. Postponement of issue of process.-(1) Any Magistrate, on receipt of a complaint of an offence of which he is authorised to take cognizance or which has been made over to him under Section 192, may, if he thinks fit, [and shall, in a case where the accused is residing at a place beyond the area in which he exercises his jurisdiction] postpone the issue of process against the accused, and either enquire into the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by a police officer or by such other person as he thinks fit, for the purpose of deciding whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding.
  4. The words introduced by amendment as highlighted are:

and shall, in a case where the accused is residing at a place beyond the area in which he exercises his jurisdiction.

 

  1. It would be noticeable that this amendment has not brought in any change so far as the nature of enquiry, required to be held under the section is concerned. It can further be noticed that holding of enquiry seems to have been made obligatory in a case where accused person is residing at a place beyond the area in which the Magistrate exercises jurisdiction thus seems to be the only change introduced by way of this amendment. It may be noticeable that prior to this amendment, holding of enquiry before issuing a process, was in the discretion of a Magistrate, which would continue to be so unless an accused person is the one who resides beyond the territorial jurisdiction exercised by the Magistrate. In Boya Lakshmanna v. Boyachinna Narasappa and Anr. 1976 Cri.L.J.127, it was held that it is optional for the Magistrate to hold enquiry and he can issue process direct as well. Ofcourse a Magistrate is not required to issue process against an accused as a matter of course and can hold an enquiry, if after perusing the statement of the complainant and the witnesses, he is not satisfied that a case for summoning is made out and wishes to further enquire into the matter. He would then follow the procedure indicated in Section 202(2) Cr.P.C. The statement of the complainant and the witness, referred to above, would have come before him under Section 200 Cr.P.C. This option of issuing process direct, which was available or is available with the Magistrate in other cases, would no more be available in cases where this amendment would be applicable. The purpose behind this amendment can well be noticed from the draft accompanying the amendment. This is as follows:

Clause 19.-False complaints are filed against persons residing at far off places simply to harass them. In order to see that innocent persons are not harassed by unscrupulous persons, this clause seeks to amend Sub-section (1) of Section 202 to make it obligatory upon the Magistrate that before summoning the accused residing beyond his jurisdiction he shall enquire into the case himself or direct investigation to be made by a police officer or by such other person as he thinks fit, for finding out whether or not there was sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.

  1. The words “if he thinks fit” occurring before postpone the issue of process give clear indication about the option before a Magistrate to issue process or postpone the issue of the same in his discretion without holding an enquiry. This discretion now would not be available with the Magistrate in cases where amendment is made applicable. In short, the Magistrate would now be under obligation to enquire into a case either himself or direct investigation to find out whether or not there was sufficient ground for proceeding against an accused where he resides at a place beyond his area of jurisdiction. This is the only change introduced in the provision. The nature of enquiry envisaged under this section ofcourse has not undergone any change. It has been held that the nature of enquiry would vary with the circumstances of each case and the enquiry as contemplated certainly is such which should not be exhaustive. In Kewal Krishan v. Suraj Bhan and Anr. , the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed:

All that he has to see is whether or not there is “sufficient ground for proceeding” against the accused. At this stage, the Magistrate is not to weigh the evidence meticulously as if he were the trial court. The standard to be adopted by the Magistrate in scrutinising the evidence is not the same as the stage of framing charges. Even at the state of framing charges the truth, veracity and effect of the evidence which the complainant produces or proposes to adduce at the trial, is not to be meticulously judged. The standard of proof and judgment, which is to be applied finally before finding the accused guilty or otherwise, is not exactly to be applied at the stage of framing charges. A fortiori, at the stage of Sections 202/204, if there is prima facie evidence in support of the allegations in the complaint relating to a case exclusively triable by the Court of Session, that will be a sufficient ground for issuing process to the accused and committing them for trial to the Court of Session.

  1. was further observed that to ascertain whether or not the evidence so collected would disclose sufficient grounds for proceeding is lower than the one to be adopted at the stage of framing charges. In Smt. Nagawwa v. Veeranna Shivalingappa Konjalgi and Ors. , it is observed as under:

The scope of the inquiry under Section 202 is extremely limited-only to the ascertainment of the truth or falsehood of the allegations made in the complaint-(i) on the materials placed by the complainant before the Court; (ii) for the limited purpose of finding out whether a prima facie case for issue of process has been made out; and (iii) for deciding the question purely from the point of view of the complainant without at all adverting to any defence that the accused may have. In fact, in proceedings under Section 202 the accused has got absolutely no locus standi and is not entitled to be heard on the question whether the process should be issued against him or not.

  1. It can, thus, be said that degree of formality of the proceedings and the width and depth of the enquiry are entirely in the discretion of the Magistrate. It was also held that this provision is enabling and not obligatory. Though it was observed that it is not necessary that a Magistrate should hold an enquiry under this section in every case and it is only when he “thinks fit” that he may do so, but it was viewed that it would be advisable that an enquiry be held where the complainant is not speaking from his own knowledge. Even before amendment, there were some cases where such enquiry was held obligatory. Under Section 10 of the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929, such enquiry is obligatory and the failure to do was held to vitiate the whole trial. In this regard, reference may be made to State of Gujarat v. Patel Jivraj Khimji and Ors. 1966 Gujarat Law Reporter 935. This may be sufficient to appreciate the parameters in regard to the requirement of an enquiry now made obligatory in cases where an accused resides beyond the jurisdiction of a Magistrate. It would, thus, be proper to hold that in a case of person residing beyond jurisdiction of a Magistrate, if the process is issued without holding enquiry, it may vitiate the whole trial.
  2. Since this effect of the amendment was not seriously disputed by the counsel appearing for the contesting respondent, I do not consider the need to go into the significance of word “may” or “shall” as argued by Mr. R.S. Cheema, learned Senior counsel appearing for the petitioner. To be fair to him, he has urged that the use of word “may” and “shall” in the same provision would cover two different situations and this provision is discretionary in one situation and mandatory in another. This would not appear to be in much dispute. Mr. Cheema appears to be justified in submitting that use of expression “may” conferring discretion upon the Magistrate with respect to one facts situation and that of “shall” in connection with another situation would give an indication of the fact that legislature had intended to make this provision mandatory in nature. The notice on the clause of amendment, as referred to above, and the use of word “shall” in the amended provision, in my view, does not leave much scope of debate in regard to the nature of this amendment introduced, making it to be obligatory. In regard to the implication of word “shall”, Mr. Cheema has referred to Rubber House v. Excellsior Needle Industries Pvt. Ltd. . As per this, the word “shall” in its ordinary import is said to be obligatory. In Raza Buland Sugar Co. Ltd. Rampur v. Municipal Board, Rampur , the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that whether use of word is mandatory or merely directory cannot be resolved by laying down any general rule and would depend upon the facts of each case and for that purpose the object of the statute in making the provision is the determining factor. In State of U.P. v. Babu Ram Upadhya , it is held that when a statute uses the word “shall”, prima facie, it is mandatory, but the Court may ascertain the real intention of the legislature by carefully attending to the whole scope of the statute.
  3. Viewed in this background, it would be safe to say that the manner in which this amendment has been introduced and the wording thereof, when read in the light of objects behind the same, would make it clear that the legislature intended this provision to be made as obligatory/mandatory in nature. Thus, it would be proper to say that holding of an enquiry and the other options available to the Magistrate in this regard under Section 202 Cr.P.C. would be obligatory where it is found that person is residing beyond his jurisdiction. In this case, the present petitioner is not residing within the jurisdiction exercised by Judicial Magistrate Ist Class, Faridabad. Thus, it was obligatory for the Magistrate to hold enquiry envisaged under Section 202 Cr.P.C. before issuing process.
  4. To ascertain if any enquiry was held or not, a mention to the facts, in brief, would be essential. Petitioner is a Managing Director of M/s Haldia Petrochemicals Limited with the address as 1Auckland Place, Kolkata. Respondent No. 1 has filed a complaint dated 11.5.2004 (Annexure P-1), against him before Judicial Magistrate Ist Class, Faridabad under Sections 323/452/504/506 IPC, which has led to his summoning vide order dated 14.10.2006 (Annexure P-2). The petitioner is a Managing Director of M/s Haldia Petrochemicals Limited (“HPL” for short) and is working with this concern since 10.8.2001. He was appointed as Chief Executive on 30.4.2002 and has been inducted in the Board of Directors w.e.f. 29.3.2005. HPL has appointed various agents across the country to sell its products. Such agents are to ensure payment to the HPL against the sale of the products to the customers. One IPF Vikram India Ltd. Panchkula, Haryana was appointed as an agent during the year 2000. During the year 2001-2002, IPF supplied certain products of HPL to another company named Himachal Filament Pvt. Ltd. Sirmour (Himachal Pradesh) (“HFPL” for short). HFPL had issued a cheque amounting to Rs. 37,08,115/-through its agent to HPL. This cheque was dishonoured. HPL issued power of attorney in favour of IPF to recover this price of goods supplied by HPFL as an agent of HPL to HFPL. An application was also given by IPF to the Inspector General of Police, Chandigarh for recovery of dues from HFPL. On 5.8.2002, HFPL was made to pay a sum of Rs. 31.83 lacs before Lok Adalat, U.T. Chandigarh and had agreed to pay a sum of Rs. two lacs on monthly basis. HFPL did not honour this order passed by Lok Adalat leading to registration of an FIR on 15.11.2002 against respondent No. 1. He was accordingly arrested. Respondent No. 1 filed a civil suit for defamation at Faridabad against the petitioner and one Shri Siddharth Anand of IPF. This suit is stated to have been dismissed in default on 6.2.2006 and application for its restoration is pending. It is disclosed that by suppressing these material facts, respondent No. 1 filed the present complaint in the court of Judicial Magistrate, Faridabad on 11.5.2004 alleging that the petitioner alongwith two unknown persons had come to his office for discussion in connection with the suit and had abused him, caught him from the collar and gave fist blows. Respondent No. 1 appeared as CW-1 in support of the complaint and further produced one Akash Wadhawan as CW-2. On the basis of this evidence, the Magistrate has summoned the petitioner vide its order dated 14.10.2006, which is under challenge in the present petition.
  5. The primary submission made by the counsel for the petitioner is that petitioner is a resident of Kolkata and is, thus, residing beyond the area in which Judicial Magistrate at Faridabad exercises jurisdiction and hence could have been summoned only by holding an enquiry into the case as envisaged under Section 202 Cr.P.C. As already noticed above, the holding of enquiry by a Magistrate or in other manners of holding enquiry/investigation as he thinks fit, would be obligatory and mandatory in the present case since the petitioner is residing in an area beyond the jurisdiction of the Magistrate concerned. That being so, it is required to be seen if the process is issued to the petitioner by holding an enquiry as required under Section 202 Cr.P.C. or not.
  6. While making submission, Mr. Cheema points out that the complaint in this case was made on 11.5.2004. The evidence of two witnesses, one of which is complainant, was recorded on 27.10.2004 and the order summoning the petitioner is dated 14.10.2006. From this, learned Counsel would contend that Magistrate obviously was not conscious about the amendment made in Section 202 Cr.P.C. As already noted, this amendment has come into force on 23.6.2006, much after filing of the complaint and recording of evidence, but before issuing of the process. It is urged that process in this case has been issued by the Magistrate without taking into consideration the amendment in Section 202 Cr.P.C. It is urged that if the Magistrate was conscious of this amendment at the time of issuing process, he would have done so after holding enquiry which is now obligatory. It is stated that the Magistrate has issued process in this case without holding enquiry envisaged under Section 202 Cr.P.C. It is reasonable to say that Magistrate has not taken note of this amendment if he had issued process without holding an enquiry. If one was to find that this process is issued after holding enquiry, then perhaps it cannot be urged that the process is issued without taking into consideration the amendment introduced in the section. As already noted, the process in this case is issued after recording the evidence of two witnesses. This according to Mr. Cheema is in terms of Section 200 Cr.P.C. This Section (200 Cr.P.C.) provides for examination of the complainants and the witnesses present, if any, by a Magistrate while taking cognizance. Section 202 Cr.P.C. is contained in Chapter XV, which deals with the provisions relating to the steps which a Magistrate has to take while and after taking cognizance of any offence on a complaint. Once the Magistrate takes cognizance of offence, then he has to follow the procedure prescribed under Section 202(1) Cr.P.C. Examination of the complainant and witnesses, if any, under Section 200 Cr.P.C. is done while or for taking cognizance. The Magistrate can then either hold enquiry or direct investigation to be made either by police officer or any other person. This is to help the Magistrate to decide if there is sufficient ground for him to proceed further. This seems to be emerging from the wording of Section 202 Cr.P.C. Thus, after taking cognizance, the stage of issuing a process would come, which under Section 202 Cr.P.C. can be postponed by the Magistrate if he thinks fit to hold an enquiry or direct an investigation to see if there are sufficient grounds for proceeding or not. This enquiry or investigation now is made obligatory/mandatory in a case where accused is residing at a place beyond the area in which he exercises jurisdiction. In other words, it would mean that such enquiry/investigation is mandatory even when he has taken cognizance after examining the complainant or his witnesses under Section 200 Cr.P.C. The examination of the complainant and witnesses as envisaged under Section 200 Cr.P.C. can not be equated or be a substitute for the enquiry/investigation required under Section 202 Cr.P.C. Prior to amendment, it was in the discretion of the Magistrate to hold enquiry or have the case investigated under Section 202 Cr.P.C., which now is made mandatory in the case of person residing at a place beyond the area of his jurisdiction. The nature of this enquiry or investigation continues to be the same as was prior to coming into force of the amendment in question.
  7. The order summoning the petitioner is annexed on record. Process is issued without holding enquiry or getting the complaint investigated in any manner. Reference has already been made in regard to the nature of enquiry, required to be held under this section to see if prima facie case is made out or not. In Nagawwa’s case (supra), the Hon’ble Supreme Court has observed that the enquiry envisaged under this section is extremely limited. This is for the limited purpose to find out whether a prima-facie case for issue of process is made out. As already noticed in this case, this is required to be decided purely from the point of view of the complainant without at all adverting to any defence that the accused may have. Similarly in Kewal Krishan’s case (supra), the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that the Magistrate at this stage is not to weigh the evidence meticulously as if he was a trial court. Rather in this case the Hon’ble Supreme Court has observed the limits of Magistrate’s discretion and infirmity, if he meticulously appreciates the evidence. The Hon’ble Supreme Court declined to interfere by saying that such would only be an irregularity and not illegality leading to any miscarriage of justice. Thus, where the Magistrate was to meticulously appreciate the evidence, it may lead to lapse on his part in overstepping the discretion available to him under this section. In other words, it can be stated that the Magistrate at the time of issuing process is not to weigh the evidence as already noted, width and depth of this enquiry are entirely in the discretion of the Magistrate, though such an enquiry may vary with the circumstances of each case, but it is not required to be exhaustive (see Kewal Krishan’s case, supra).
  8. Process is issued in this case only on the basis of examination of the complainant and CW-2. This is obviously under Section 200 Cr.P.C. It was done much prior to the date of amendment of Section 202 Cr.P.C. It is seen that no enquiry/investigation is held as is required under Section 202 Cr.P.C. The quashing of the summoning order is sought mainly on the ground that the Magistrate has not held enquiry, which is obligatory. If the Magistrate had considered the amended Section 202 Cr.P.C., he was bound to hold enquiry/investigation thereunder before issuing process, though this Court would not have any power to interfere or to substitute its own discretion over that of a Magistrate. Where Magistrate is seen to have exercised his discretion judicially, the same may not call for any interference. The defence of the accused is not the factor, which is required to be taken into consideration to call for any interference in the order. Even the irregularity in the procedure under this section, which does not result in miscarriage of justice, may not call for any interference by a court. Whether a prima- facie case is made out from the evidence recorded or not, would be a matter within the discretion of the Magistrate. In fact some inadequacy of the enquiry will also not call for any interference. But enquiry or investigation in case where the accused resides beyond his jurisdiction cannot now be wished away being mandatory. In this case, no enquiry or investigation have been held and process, as such, is issued in violation of the mandatory requirement of Section 202 Cr.P.C. and cannot be sustained. Thus, impugned order is accordingly set aside and case is sent back to the Magistrate to examine fresh by adhering to the requirement of Section 202 Cr.P.C.
  9. The argument of Mr. Cheema based on the ground that it would sound improbable for a person to come and visit the office of the petitioner to behave in a manner as alleged, need not be gone into as the case is going back to the Magistrate to hold enquiry/investigation etc. The complaint otherwise can not be quashed on the ground that summoning was done without holding enquiry or investigation as envisaged under Section 202 Cr.P.C. It may not otherwise be open to judge the correctness or otherwise of the allegations made in the complaint in a petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. Defence plea can also not be considered while exercising revisional jurisdiction or inherent powers. See S. Nihal Singh and Ors. v. Arjan Das, New Delhi 1983 Cri.L.J.777.
  10. As a result, the present petition is partly accepted. The impugned order summoning the petitioner is set-aside. The case would go back to the Magistrate for deciding the case for issuing process afresh by following the mandatory provisions of law under Section 202 Cr.P.C.

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” 82 Proclamation for person absconding.- (1) If any Court has reason to believe (whether after taking evidence or not) that any person against whom a warrant has been issued by it has absconded or is concealing himself so that such warrant cannot be executed, such Court may publish a written proclamation requiring him to appear at a specified place and at a specified time not less than thirty days from the date of publishing such proclamation.

(2) The proclamation shall be published as follows:-

(i) (a) it shall be publicly read in some conspicuous part of the town or village in which such person ordinarily resides;

(b) it shall be affixed to some conspicuous part of the house or homestead in which such person ordinarily resides or to some conspicuous place of such town or village;

(c) a copy thereof shall be affixed to some conspicuous part of the Court-house;

(ii) the Court may also,if it thinks fit, direct a copy of the proclamation to be published in a daily newspaper circulating in the place in which such person ordinarily resides.

(3) A statement in writing by the Court issuing the proclamation to the effect that the proclamation was duly published on a specified day, in the manner specified in clause (i) of sub-section (2), shall be conclusive evidence that the requirements of this section have been complied with, and that the proclamation was published on such day.

[(4) Where a proclamation published under sub-section (1) is in respect of a person accused of an offence punishable under Section 302,304,364,367,382,392,393,394,395,396,397,398,399,400,402,436,449,4 59 or 460 of the Indian Penal Code ( 45 of 1860), and such person fails to appear at the specified place and time required by the proclamation, the Court may, after making such inquiry as it thinks fit, pronounce him a proclaimed offender and make a declaration to that effect.

(5) The provisions of sub-sections (2) and (3) shall apply to a declaration made by the Court under sub-section (4) as they apply to the proclamation published under sub-section (1). ]”

  1. Sub-section (4) of Section 82 of the Cr.P.C. appears to be applicable in respect of a person accused of an offence punishable under specific Sections of the Indian Penal Code indicated and the word proclaimed offender appears in the said Sub- Section (4) of Section 82 of the Cr.P.C. Some discretion has been given to court to hold inquiry before pronouncing any accused as proclaimed offender under sub-section (4) of Section 82 of the Code. Sub-Section (5) of Section 82 Cr.P.C. indicates that sub- section (2) and sub-section (3) shall apply to declaration made by the Court under sub- section (4) as they applied to the proclamation published under sub-section (1). In the present case we are not concerned with sub-section (4) because the petitioner is not an accused of the offence indicated under said sub-section (4) of Section 82 of the Code.

———————————————————————————————————————————————–

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JHARKHAND AT RANCHI

A.B.A.No. 4674 of 2012

Mahendra Kumar Ruiya.          … … …  …  …Petitioner

-Versus-

  1. State of Jharkhand through.
  2. Gautam Kumar Dubey. …  …  …Opp. Parties

———-

CORAM:         THE HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE D.N.UPADHYAY

 

For the Petitioner:         Mr. Prashant Pallav, Advocate.

For the State               A.P.P.

For the O.P.No.2:           Onkar Nath Tiwary, Advocate.

———-

C.A.V. on 14.06.2013:                       Pronounced on 27.06.2013

———-

D.N.Upadhyay,J.        The present application for grant of anticipatory bail has been filed on

behalf of Mahendra Kumar Ruiya in connection with P.C.R. No.416 of 2006,

corresponding to T.R.No.991 of 2012 under Sections 406/420 of the Indian Penal Code,

pending in the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Deoghar.

  1. The prosecution case as it appears from the complaint in brief is that the

petitioner and co-accused Shiv Kumar Ruiya have been appointed as receiver by the

Calcutta High Court under the A.P.O.T. No. 11/1997 ( Suit No.70/1966) in respect of

trust property of Ruiya Dharamsala Building appertaining to vacant land of Mouza

Jasidih No. 118 and Jasidih Bazar plot no. 28,29, 662/716 and 665 District Deoghar. An

advertisement for sale of Ruia Dharamsala’s vacant land was published whereafter the

complainant expressed his willingness to purchase the said property for a valuable

consideration of Rs. 1,05,00,000/- and out of said consideration amount, a sum of

Rs.7,00,000/- was paid as earnest money to the accused persons and after that they

entered into an agreement dated 18.10.2003. The accused persons had promised to

obtain permission from Calcutta High Court within three months but they did not do so

and retained the earnest money with them. The complainant made several approach to

the accused persons but they postponed the execution of sale-deed on one ground or the

other. Lastly the complainant made approach to Calcutta High Court and he could learn

that the accused persons had not taken step for seeking permission to sell the aforesaid

property in favour of the complainant. Since the complainant felt himself cheated by the

accused persons, he lodged a complaint in which cognizance was taken on 17.9.2008

and the accused persons including the petitioner were directed to face trial under

Sections 406/420 of the Indian Penal Code. Thereafter summons were issued but the

accused persons did not appear. They preferred Cr. Revision No. 154 of 2008 before

the Sessions Court which stood dismissed on 20.8.2010. When the accused persons did

not appear, warrant of arrest non-bailable was issued against them on 13.12.2010. Even

after issuance of warrant of arrest, they did not appear and then proclamation under

Section 82 Cr.P.C. was ordered to be issued. The present petitioner then preferred an

application for grant of anticipatory bail vide A.B.P.No. 628 2012 before the learned

Sessions Judge which was dismissed with certain observation on 16.10.2012 and the

petitioner was directed to surrender before the court-below within a period of three

weeks from the date of said order for seeking regular bail. When the petitioner did not

2.

appear in person before the court-below, process under Section 83 Cr.P.C. was directed

to be issued on 22.10.2012 thereafter the petitioner has preferred present application for

grant of anticipatory bail before this Court on 17.12.2012.

  1. It is submitted that the petitioner had not signed any document or

agreement in favour of the complainant nor he has received a single farthing from him.

The details of payment as stated in the agreement is Rs. 5,04000/- in cash and Rs.

1,96,000/- through bank draft in the account of receiver of which Shiv Kumar Ruiya

and Mahendra Kumar Ruiya are joint signatory. It is stated that no such demand draft

was ever credited in the account of receiver and therefore, the petitioner could not be

fastened with any liability. So far as cash amount is concerned, he had not given any

receipt against the said amount. It is also pointed out by referring Annexure-8 of

supplementary affidavit dated 9.4.2013 that the Hon’ble Calcutta High Court vide order

dated 20th February, 2003 had made it clear that filing of account by Mahendra Kumar

Ruiya (petitioner) is hereby dispensed with.

  1. Learned Counsel has submitted that alleged agreement was executed on

18.2.2003

but the Complainant never approached the Calcutta High Court for seeking suitable direction for transfer of the land nor he has filed any suit for specific performance of contract rather he has filed a criminal case in the year 2006 vide P.C.R.No.416 of 2000.

  1. On the other hand learned Counsel for the complainant has vehemently opposed the prayer for bail and referred the judgment reported in (2012) 8 Supreme Court Case 730 “Lavesh Vrs. State (NCT of Delhi”. It was submitted that the petitioner is not entitled for anticipatory bail since he has been declared proclaimed absconder in terms of Section 82 of the Cr.P.C. Since the accused persons were concealing themselves and evading their appearance, process under Section 83 Cr.P.C. was also issued against them. Furthermore, the petitioner had acknowledged the execution of agreement for sale of the property of Ruiya Dharamsala and the demand draft for Rs.1,96,000/- was issued in the joint name of both the receiver appointed by the Calcutta High Court.
  2. In reply to the argument advanced on behalf of the complainant, learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner has submitted that the petitioner was never declared proclaimed offender as required under sub-section (4) of Section 82 of the Cr.P.C. The provisions contained under sub-section (2) & (3) of Section 82 of the Cr.P.C. have not been complied with. The petitioner had never been concealing himself nor evading his appearance rather he had preferred Cr. Revision against the order of cognizance dated 17.9.2008 and after disposal of said revision application, he preferred application for grant of anticipatory bail and thereafter present application before this Court. Under such circumstances it could not be said that he had been concealing himself or evading his appearance. He has also referred a judgment of Madrash High Court dated 8.12.2010 vide CRL O.P.No.18861/2010 ” Anandan @ Duglas Devananda Vrs. The State by Inspector of Police.
  3. The rival submission has raised a question whether a person, accused of an offence against whom process under Section 82 Cr.P.C. has been issued, shall be debarred from getting benefit of Section 438 Cr.P.C.?
  4. Before adverting any opinion, I would like to quote Section 438(1) of the Cr.P.C. which reads as under:-

” Direction for grant of bail to person apprehending arrest.-(1) Where any person has reason to believe that he may be arrested on accusation of having committed a non-bailable offence, he may apply to the High Court or the Court of Session for a direction under this Section that in the event of such arrest he shall be released on bail; and that court may, after taking into consideration, inter alia, the following factors, namely-

(i) the nature and gravity of the accusation;

(ii) the antecedents of the applicant including the fact as to whether he has previously undergone imprisonment on conviction by a court in respect of any cognizable offence;

(iii) the possibility of the applicant to flee from justice; and

(iv) where the accusation has been made with the object of injuring or humiliating the applicant by having him so arrested, either reject the application forthwith or issue an interim order for the grant of anticipatory bail:

Provided that, where the High Court or, as the case may be, the Court of Session, has not passed any interim order under this sub- section or has rejected the application for grant of anticipatory bail, it shall be open to an officer in charge of a police station to arrest, without warrant the applicant on the basis of the accusation apprehended in such application.”

It makes it clear that in a non-bailable offence if a person has reason to believe that he may be arrested, he is free to apply to the High Court or the Court of Session praying that in the event of such arrest, he shall be released on bail.”

  1. In the given facts and circumstances, the grounds for consideration of anticipatory bail enumerated under clause (iii) of Section 438 (1) ‘the possibility of the applicant to flee from justice’ appears to have been attracted. The petitioner has filed entire order-sheet passed in connection with Complaint Case being P.C.R. No. 416 of 2006. As per order dated 21.08.2012, direction to issue processes under Sections 82 & 83 Cr.P.C. was passed when the petitioner could not be arrested even after issuance of warrant of arrest non-bailable. In view of the order dated 21.8.2012 only process under Section 82 Cr.P.C. against the petitioner was issued on 28.8.2012. When the anticipatory bail application preferred by the petitioner vide A.B.P.No. 628 of 2012 was disposed of by the learned Sessions Judge, the learned Magistrate has directed to issue process under Section 83 Cr.P.C. as against the accused persons including the petitioner on 22.11.2012.
  2. Since the liberty given to an accused under Section 438 Cr.P.C. is going to be curtailed, if process under Section 82 Cr.P.C. against him has been issued, I would like to discuss the provisions and requirement contained under Section 82 of the Cr.P.C. which reads as under:-

” 82 Proclamation for person absconding.- (1) If any Court has reason to believe (whether after taking evidence or not) that any person against whom a warrant has been issued by it has absconded or is concealing himself so that such warrant cannot be executed, such Court may publish a written proclamation requiring him to appear at a specified place and at a specified time not less than thirty days from the date of publishing such proclamation.

(2) The proclamation shall be published as follows:-

(i) (a) it shall be publicly read in some conspicuous part of the town or village in which such person ordinarily resides;

(b) it shall be affixed to some conspicuous part of the house or homestead in which such person ordinarily resides or to some conspicuous place of such town or village;

(c) a copy thereof shall be affixed to some conspicuous part of the Court-house;

(ii) the Court may also,if it thinks fit, direct a copy of the proclamation to be published in a daily newspaper circulating in the place in which such person ordinarily resides.

(3) A statement in writing by the Court issuing the proclamation to the effect that the proclamation was duly published on a specified day, in the manner specified in clause (i) of sub-section (2), shall be conclusive evidence that the requirements of this section have been complied with, and that the proclamation was published on such day.

[(4) Where a proclamation published under sub-section (1) is in respect of a person accused of an offence punishable under Section 302,304,364,367,382,392,393,394,395,396,397,398,399,400,402,436,449,4 59 or 460 of the Indian Penal Code ( 45 of 1860), and such person fails to appear at the specified place and time required by the proclamation, the Court may, after making such inquiry as it thinks fit, pronounce him a proclaimed offender and make a declaration to that effect.

(5) The provisions of sub-sections (2) and (3) shall apply to a declaration made by the Court under sub-section (4) as they apply to the proclamation published under sub-section (1). ]”

  1. Sub-section (4) of Section 82 of the Cr.P.C. appears to be applicable in respect of a person accused of an offence punishable under specific Sections of the Indian Penal Code indicated and the word proclaimed offender appears in the said Sub- Section (4) of Section 82 of the Cr.P.C. Some discretion has been given to court to hold inquiry before pronouncing any accused as proclaimed offender under sub-section (4) of Section 82 of the Code. Sub-Section (5) of Section 82 Cr.P.C. indicates that sub- section (2) and sub-section (3) shall apply to declaration made by the Court under sub- section (4) as they applied to the proclamation published under sub-section (1). In the present case we are not concerned with sub-section (4) because the petitioner is not an accused of the offence indicated under said sub-section (4) of Section 82 of the Code.

 

Therefore, I have to see whether provisions against issuance of proclamation u/s 82 sub-section (1) (2) & (3) have properly been complied with or not. Sub-section (1) empowers the Court to issue written proclamation with certain direction to appear at a specified place and a specified time against a person who is either absconded or concealing himself so that the warrant issued against him could not be executed. Sub-section (2) of Section 82 of the Code indicates the manner in which a proclamation shall be published or executed. In this connection compliance of Sub- Section (3) of Section 82 of the Code is very much important. This sub-section speaks about the subjective satisfaction of the Court and such subjective satisfaction of the Court must be reduced into writing to the effect that the proclamation was duly published on a specific date in the manner specified in clause (i) of sub-section (2) and that shall be the conclusive evidence that requirement of this section had been complied with and the proclamation was duly published. Such statement recorded in writing shall be the consequence for the next step for issuance of process under Section 83 of the Cr.P.C., therefore, before proceeding with provision contained under Section 83 of the Cr.P.C. the Court issuing a proclamation under Section 82 must record a reason in writing that even after issuance of proclamation the accused did not comply the direction and remained absconding or concealing himself or evading his appearance. The primary meaning of the word abscond is to hide and when a person is hiding from the place of his residence he is said to be absconder. A person may hide even in his place of residence or away from it and in either case he would be absconding when he hides himself. In that view of the matter, I feel that strict compliance of sub-section (3) of Section 82 Cr.P.C. is very much required for declaring any accused as absconder. I would further like to explain that Section 82 Cr.P.C. has mainly three parts. As per first part of the Section it is well settled that issuance of warrant is condition precedent for issuance of process of proclamation under Section 82 of the Code. The Court must be satisfied that it has reason to believe that the accused has been absconding or concealing himself so that such warrant cannot be executed. Second part suggest as to how proclamation has to be given effect or published to make the accused acquaint that his appearance is required in connection with particular case before a particular Court. The third part as indicated under sub-section (4) of Section 82 of the Cr.P.C. gives more discretion to make inquiry against an accused who has committed offence indicated under sub-section (4). After recording reasons the Court can declare an accused of such offence as proclaimed offender. To make the view more clear, I would like to refer Section 174 (A) I.P.C. under which disobedience of proclamation has been made punishable, which reads as follows:-

 

” 174-A. Non-appearance in response to a proclamation under Section 82 of Act 2 of 1974.- Whoever fails to appear at the specified place and the specified time as required by a proclamation published under sub-section (1) of Section 82 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ( 2 of 1974) shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine or with both, and where a declaration has been made under sub-section (4) of that section pronouncing him as a proclaimed offender, he shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.”

  1. This inserted Section 174A of the I.P.C. has two parts ‘the first part of the Section relates for the punishment against a person against whom proclamation has been issued and published under sub-section (1) & (2) of Section 82 of the Code and the punishment is up-to three years or with fine or with both whereas ‘the second part of the offence relates to a declaration made under sub-section (4) of Section 82 under which a person has been pronounced as proclaimed offender and the punishment is severe than the first part which may extend to 7 years and shall also be liable to fine’. Now I feel it desirable to refer paragraph 11 & 12 of the judgment “Lavesh Vrs. State (NCT of Delhi” ( supra).
  2. In view of the observation made in para 12 of the said judgment it appears that a person against whom proclamation under Section 82 Cr.P.C. has been issued is not entitled to the relief of anticipatory bail but then proper compliance of Section 82 as discussed above is very much essential.
  3. Now coming to the facts of this case and the orders passed in P.C.R. No. 416 of 2006 I find that proclamation as required under Section 82 Cr.P.C. has properly not been done and no statement as required under sub-section (3) of Section 82 Cr.P.C. has been recorded. The issuance of process under Section 83 Cr.P.C. vide order dated 22.11.2012 also do not appear to be in accordance with law because the requirement of Section 82 Cr.P.C. has not properly been complied with.

 

  1. Let us come to the facts of the case from which it is clear that the complainant instead of filing any application before the Hon’ble Calcutta High Court informing about the agreement executed between the complainant and the accused persons for seeking any relief, lodged the present criminal case. The complainant has failed to bring on record that the petitioner had received earnest money in cash from him. So far as demand draft is concerned it was submitted that the petitioner had not deposited the same for its encashment.
  2. In the aforesaid circumstances, the petitioner is directed to surrender before the court-below within three weeks from today and if he does so he shall be released on bail on furnishing bail bond of Rs. 10,000/- ( Ten thousand) with two sureties of like amount each to the satisfaction of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Deoghar in connection with P.C.R. Case No. 416 of 2006, corresponding to T.R. No. 991 of 2012, subject to the conditions as laid down under Section 438(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

 

[D.N.Upadhyay,J.] P.K.S./N.A.F.R.

 

criminal-law.jpg

From these materials and information, it is clear that the present appellant was not available for interrogation and investigation and was declared as “absconder”. Normally, when the accused is “absconding” and declared as a “proclaimed offender”, there is no question of granting anticipatory bail. We reiterate that when a person against whom a warrant had been issued and is absconding or concealing himself in order to avoid execution of warrant and declared as a proclaimed offender in terms of Section 82 of the Code he is not entitled to the relief of anticipatory bail.

This judgment was followed in the case of State of Madhya Pradesh Vs. Pradeep Sharma (supra) wherein after quoting the aforesaid paragraph in the case of Lavesh (supra), it was held as follows:-

“It is clear from the above decision that if anyone is declared as an absconder/proclaimed offender in terms of Section 82 of the Code, he is not entitled to the relief of anticipatory bail”.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court went on to hold that “in such serious offences particularly, the respondent-accused being proclaimed offender, we are unable to sustain the impugned order of granting the anticipatory bail. The High Court failed to appreciate that it is a settled position of law that where the accused has been declared as an absconder and has not cooperated with the investigation, he should not be granted anticipatory bail.” The ultimate conclusion, which can be drawn from the judgments quoted above, is that once process under section 82 Cr.P.C. has been issued , an anticipatory bail application becomes non-maintainable. Although it has been strenuously argued by Mr. Indrajit Sinha, learned counsel for the petitioner, that the said judgments are applicable in the facts and circumstances of each case and no uniform applicability can be made in cases of anticipatory bail but this contention of learned counsel for the petitioner is rejected as it has specifically been held by the referred judgments that once an accused has been declared as an absconder /proclaimed offender in terms of Section 82 Cr.P.C. is denied the consideration of anticipatory bail. Therefore, the first question which has been raised in this application is answered against the petitioner.

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IN THE HIGH COURT OF JHARKHAND AT RANCHI

A.B.A. No. 3493 of 2015

 

Kumar Anuhav, Son of Sri Arun Kumar Srivastava, Resident of 15/C,

Park Road, D1/A, Road No. 1, Ashok Nagar, P.O. and P.S. Argora,

District-Ranchi.                           ……..Petitioner

Versus

  1. The State of Jharkhand.
  2. Reena Kumari Sinha, D/o Bipin Bihari Sinha,presently residing

at Maharajganj Road, in front of Punjab National Bank, New

Area, P.S. Town, Town & District- Aurangabad ( Bihar).

…Opposite Parties

——–

Coram: THE HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE RONGON MUKHOPADHYAY

——–

For the Petitioner     : Mr. Indrajit Sinha, Advocate

For the State          : APP

For the O.P. No. 2     : Mr. R.S. Mazumdar, Sr. Advocate

——–

06/06.11.2015

Heard Mr. Indrajit Sinha, learned counsel for the petitioner and Mr. R.S. Mazumdar, learned senior counsel for O.P. No. 2.

  1. The petitioner apprehends his arrest in connection with Doranda (Argora) P.S. Case No. 196 of 2015, corresponding to G.R. Case No. 1920 of 2015, registered for the offence punishable under Sections 498A of the Indian Penal Code and sections 3/4 of Dowry Prohibition Act.
  1. Two pertinent questions have arisen in this anticipatory bail application. The first being whether an anticipatory bail application can be maintainable once process under Section 82 Cr.P.C. has been issued. The second question is whether this Court under the provision of Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure can look into the legality or otherwise of issuance of process under sections 82 and 83 of Cr.P.C.
  1. The petitioner has been made an accused for an offence punishable under section 498A of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.
  1. Learned counsel for the petitioner before adverting to the contentions he has raised has given a factual matrix of the case though not on merits and has mainly concentrated on the fact that the petitioner had all along cooperated with the Investigating Officer and therefore there was no question of issuance of any process under section 82 Cr.P.C. Submission has been advanced to the effect that on 1.4.2015, the FIR was instituted and on 4.4.2015, notices were issued under section 41A of the Cr.P.C. to the petitioner and subsequent thereto on 6.4.2015 mention has been made about the supervision report dated 2.4.2015 wherein a direction was given to arrest the petitioner. Pursuant to receiving notice under section 41A of Cr.P.C., the petitioner had appeared before the Investigating Officer on 8.4.2015. On 15.04.2015, requisition was made by the investigating officer for issuance of process under section 82 Cr.P.C.. The anticipatory bail application before the learned Sessions Judge was dismissed on 1.9.2015 and the anticipatory bail application preferred before this Court was presented on 9.9.2015 and on the same date itself, the process under section 82 Cr.P.C. was issued. It has been submitted that on 30.06.2015 and on other dates, the petitioner had made himself present before the Investigating Officer. Learned counsel for the petitioner after giving a brief background has tried to substantiate his argument by referring firstly to the judgments of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Lavesh Vs. State (NCT of Delhi) reported in (2012) 8 SCC 730. He has submitted that in the facts and circumstances of that case, it was held that considering the conduct of the petitioner as he was not amenable for investigation, he was declared as an absconder and therefore there was no question of grant of anticipatory bail. Learned counsel has also referred to the case of State of Madhya Pradesh Vs. Pradeep Sharma, reported in (2014) 2 SCC 171, wherein also as has been submitted by the learned counsel for the petitioner that the accused persons were all along absconding and were not cooperating with the investigation. Learned counsel further submits that declaring an accused as an absconder/proclaimed offender, the same could be one of the grounds for non consideration of anticipatory bail but it cannot be the sole ground while declaring the anticipatory bail application as not maintainable. Reference has also been made in the case of Bhadresh Bipinbhai Sheth Vs. State of Gujrat and Ors, reported in AIR 2015 SC 3090, wherein the principles governing the grant of bail has been enumerated at paragraph 23 of the said judgment. Submission has been advanced by the learned counsel for the petitioner that there cannot be any strait jacket formula for consideration/non consideration of grant of anticipatory bail and the judgements in the case of Lavesh (supra) and Pradeep Sharma (supra) do not lay down that in all such cases, in which process under section 82 Cr.P.C. has been initiated, the anticipatory bail application shall not be maintainable. With respect to the other contentions, which have been advanced by the learned counsel for the petitioner, the same are based on a judgement of this Court in the case of Mahendra Kumar Ruiya Vs. State of Jharkhand & Anr, reported in 2013 3 JLJR 407, wherein, in an anticipatory bail application consideration was also made as to whether compliance with mandatory requirements of law prior to issuance of process under section 82 Cr.P.C. has been followed or not. Learned counsel has also referred to the provisions of Sections 482, 483 of Cr.P.C. and Section 227 of the Constitution of India to submit that the power of superintendence lies in the High Court and therefore even in an application under section 438 Cr.P.C. before the High Court, the legality or otherwise of issuance of process under section 82 Cr.P.C. can be looked into and no separate proceeding is required to be instituted.
  1. Mr. R.S. Mazumdar, learned senior counsel for O.P. No. 2, has countered the arguments advanced by the learned counsel for the petitioner with respect to the first question formulated and has submitted that the judgments rendered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Lavesh (supra) and Pradeep Kumar Sharma create a binding precedent and the law laid down has to be interpreted in the strict sense of the term and there cannot be any liberal interpretation of the same. It has been submitted that whatever may be the facts and circumstances of the cases referred to by learned counsel for the petitioner, the only common thread binding both the judgements are that an anticipatory bail application shall not be maintainable solely on the ground of issuance of process under section 82 Cr.P.C. and the same cannot be circumvented by contending that it may be an additional ground for not considering the anticipatory bail application of an accused. Learned senior counsel has submitted that there is no question of considering an anticipatory bail application once process under section 82 Cr.P.C. has been issued and the Court is not to see the conduct of an accused and whether he has cooperated with the investigating agency or not. In this context, learned senior counsel has referred to the anticipatory bail application filed on behalf of the petitioner praying for stay of warrant of arrest as well as the supplementary affidavit and has submitted that the petitioner had appeared before the investigating officer only with an umbrella of interim protection over him. It cannot be deduced in such circumstances that the petitioner had cooperated with the investigating agency. Learned senior counsel further submits that the petitioner has merely tried to distinguish the factual aspects of the case of Lavesh(supra) and Pradeep Sharma (supra) but has not been able to distinguish that the law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court is not applicable in the facts and circumstances of the case at hand. The contention with respect to second aspect of this application has been answered by the learned senior counsel for the opposite party no. 2 by making a reference to the case of Sheikh Anwar @ Sk. Anwar Vs. State of Jharkhand reported in 2014 (4) JLJR, wherein it was held that in view of the specific provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure dealing with a specific subject, the other provisions of the Code cannot be resorted to by the Courts. It has, therefore, been submitted that in an application under section 438 Cr.P.C. before a High Court recourse cannot be taken by challenging the illegality of issuance of process under section 82 Cr.P.C., which is an altogether different subject matter for which remedies are available in the Code itself. Learned senior counsel, therefore, submits that in either of the circumstances, the present anticipatory bail application is liable to be dismissed on the question of maintainability itself.
  1. To answer the first question, it is necessary to refer to the case of Lavesh (supra) wherein it was held as follows:-

“12. From these materials and information, it is clear that the present appellant was not available for interrogation and investigation and was declared as “absconder”. Normally, when the accused is “absconding” and declared as a “proclaimed offender”, there is no question of granting anticipatory bail. We reiterate that when a person against whom a warrant had been issued and is absconding or concealing himself in order to avoid execution of warrant and declared as a proclaimed offender in terms of Section 82 of the Code he is not entitled to the relief of anticipatory bail.

This judgment was followed in the case of State of Madhya Pradesh Vs. Pradeep Sharma (supra) wherein after quoting the aforesaid paragraph in the case of Lavesh (supra), it was held as follows:-

“It is clear from the above decision that if anyone is declared as an absconder/proclaimed offender in terms of Section 82 of the Code, he is not entitled to the relief of anticipatory bail”.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court went on to hold that “in such serious offences particularly, the respondent-accused being proclaimed offender, we are unable to sustain the impugned order of granting the anticipatory bail. The High Court failed to appreciate that it is a settled position of law that where the accused has been declared as an absconder and has not cooperated with the investigation, he should not be granted anticipatory bail.” The ultimate conclusion, which can be drawn from the judgments quoted above, is that once process under section 82 Cr.P.C. has been issued , an anticipatory bail application becomes non-maintainable. Although it has been strenuously argued by Mr. Indrajit Sinha, learned counsel for the petitioner, that the said judgments are applicable in the facts and circumstances of each case and no uniform applicability can be made in cases of anticipatory bail but this contention of learned counsel for the petitioner is rejected as it has specifically been held by the referred judgments that once an accused has been declared as an absconder /proclaimed offender in terms of Section 82 Cr.P.C. is denied the consideration of anticipatory bail. Therefore, the first question which has been raised in this application is answered against the petitioner.

  1. As regards the second contention of learned counsel for the petitioner with respect to looking into the legality or otherwise of issuance of process under section 82 Cr.P.C. in an anticipatory bail application, there are conflicting judgments, which have been referred to by the learned counsel for both the sides. In the case of Mahendra Kumar Ruia (supra), the Hon’ble Court was considering the question as to whether a person-accused of an offence, against whom, process under section 82 Cr.P.C. has been issued shall be debarred from getting the benefit of Section 438 of Cr.P.C. The Hon’ble Court went on to consider as to whether the provisions against issuance of proclamation under Section 82 Cr.P.C. had been properly complied with or not. In respect to the same, the relevant portion of the order is quoted herein under:-

“11. Sub-section (4) of Section 82 of the Cr. P.C. appears to be applicable in respect of a person accused of an offence punishable under specific Sections of the Indian Penal Code indicated and the word proclaimed offender appears in the said Sub- Section (4) of Section 82 of the Cr. P.C. Some discretion has been given to court to hold inquiry before pronouncing any accused as proclaimed offender under sub-

section (4) of Section 82 of the Code. Sub-Section (5) of Section 82 Cr. P.C. indicates that subsection (2) and sub-section (3) shall apply to declaration made by the Court under subsection (4) as they applied to the proclamation published under sub- section (1). In the present case we are not concerned with sub- section (4) because the petitioner is not an accused of the offence indicated under said sub-section (4) of Section 82 of the Code.

Therefore, I have to see whether provisions against issuance of proclamation u/s 82 sub-section (1) (2) & (3) have properly been complied with or not. Sub-section (1) empowers the Court to issue written proclamation with certain direction to appear at a specified place and a specified time against a person who is either absconded or concealing himself so that the warrant issued against him could not be executed. Sub- section (2) of Section 82 of the Code indicates the manner in which a proclamation shall be published or executed. In this connection compliance of Sub-Section (3) of Section 82 of the Code is very much important. This sub-section speaks about the subjective satisfaction of the Court and such subjective satisfaction of the Court must be reduced into writing to the effect that the proclamation was duly published on a specific date in the manner specified in clause (i) of sub-section (2) and that shall be the conclusive evidence that requirement of this section had been complied with and the proclamation was duly published. Such statement recorded in writing shall be the consequence for the next step for issuance of process under Section 83 of the Cr. P.C., therefore, before proceeding with provision contained under Section 83 of the Cr. P.C. the Court issuing a proclamation under Section 82 must record a reason in writing that even after issuance of proclamation the accused did not comply the direction and remained absconding or concealing himself or evading his appearance. The primary meaning of the word abscond is to hide and when a person is hiding from the place of his residence he is said to be absconder. A person may hide even in his place of residence or away from it and in either case he would be absconding when he hides himself. In that view of the matter, I feel that strict compliance of sub-section (3) of Section 82 Cr. P.C. is very much required for declaring any accused as absconder. I would further like to explain that Section 82 Cr. P.C. has mainly three parts. As per first part of the Section it is well settled that issuance of warrant is condition precedent for issuance of process of proclamation under Section 82 of the Code. The Court must be satisfied that it has reason to believe that the accused has been absconding or concealing himself so that such warrant cannot be executed. Second part suggest as to how proclamation has to be given effect or published to make the accused acquaint that his appearance is required in connection with particular case before a particular Court. The third part as indicated under sub-section (4) of Section 82 of the Cr. P.C. gives more discretion to make inquiry against an accused who has committed offence indicated under sub- section (4). After recording reasons the Court can declare an accused of such offence as proclaimed offender. To make the view more clear, I would like to refer Section 174 (A) I.P.C. under which disobedience of proclamation has been made punishable, which reads as follows:-

“174-A. Non-appearance in response to a proclamation under Section 82 of Act 2 of 1974.- Whoever fails to appear at the specified place and the specified time as required by a proclamation published under sub-section (1) of Section 82 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ( 2 of 1974) shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine or with both, and where a declaration has been made under sub-section (4) of that section pronouncing him as a proclaimed offender, he shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.”

  1. This inserted Section 174A of the I.P.C. has two parts ‘the first part of the Section relates for the punishment against a person against whom proclamation has been issued and published under sub-section (1) & (2) of Section 82 of the Code and the punishment is up-to three years or with fine or with both whereas ‘the second part of the offence relates to a declaration made under sub-section (4) of Section 82 under which a person has been pronounced as proclaimed offender and the punishment is severe than the first part which may extend to 7 years and shall also be liable to fine’. Now I feel it desirable to refer paragraph 11 & 12 of the judgment “Lavesh Vrs. State (NCT of Delhi” ( supra).
  1. In view of the observation made in para 12 of the said judgment it appears that a person against whom proclamation under Section 82 Cr. P.C. has been issued is not entitled to the relief of anticipatory bail but then proper compliance of Section 82 as discussed above is very much essential.
  1. Now coming to the facts of this case and the orders passed in P.C.R. No. 416 of 2006 I find that proclamation as required under Section 82 Cr. P.C. has properly not been done and no statement as required under sub-section (3) of Section 82 Cr. P.C. has been recorded. The issuance of process under Section 83 Cr. P.C. vide order dated 22.11.2012 also do not appear to be in accordance with law because the requirement of Section 82 Cr. P.C. has not properly been complied with.
  1. Thus from the above judgments, it is clear that in the anticipatory bail application, the Hon’ble Court has considered the issuance of process under Sections 82 and 83 Cr.P.C. and has held that the requirements before issuance of process has not been properly complied with and thereafter the consideration has been made with respect to prayer for anticipatory bail of the said petitioner.
  1. In the case of Sheikh Anwar @ Sk. Anwar (Supra), the Hon’ble Court was considering as to whether in a proceeding under section 438 Cr.P.C., the legality of process issued under section 82 Cr.P.C. can be looked into and the relevant paragraph of the said judgment are quoted thus:-

“22. The contention of the applicant is that while hearing a petition for grant of anticipatory bail under Section 438 Cr.P.C., the High Court can look into the legality of process issued under Section 82 Cr.P.C. and if the accused prima facie satisfies the court that the order issuing process under Section 82 Cr.P.C. is unsustainable, the Court can grant anticipatory bail to an accused ignoring the law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the aforesaid cases.

  1. In my opinion such power cannot be exercised by the High Court while dealing with an application under Section 438 Cr.P.C. It is wellsettled that if there is a specific provision in the Code dealing with a specific subject, other provisions in the Code cannot be resorted to by the Courts. It has been consistently held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court that matters pertaining to revisional jurisdiction of the High court cannot be entertained by the High Court in exercise of its inherent power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. It is open to an accused to move the Court seeking quashing of the order issuing process under Section 82 Cr.P.C. however, it is not open to the High Court to grant anticipatory bail to an accused against whom process under Section 82 Cr.P.C. has been issued, ignoring the law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in “State of Madhya Pradesh Vs. Pradeep Sharma” and “Lavesh Vs. State (NCT of Delhi).”
  2. In the case of Sheikh Anwar (Supra) therefore it has been held by the Hon’ble Court that domain of the High Court to look into the legality of issuance of process under section 82 Cr.P.C. vests under section 482 Cr.P.C. and the same cannot be considered in an application made under section 438 Cr.P.C.
  1. The judgments referred to above do suggest that there is a conflict of opinion and in such circumstances, it would be desirable that the matter be heard by the Division Bench.
  1. Accordingly this application is referred to the Division Bench in order to answer the following question, which is formulated herein under:-

“Whether in an anticipatory bail application preferred under section 438 Cr.P.C., the Court can look into the legality or otherwise of issuance of process under section 82 Cr.P.C. or whether the same can be considered only in an application filed under section 482 Cr.P.C.”?

Since there is already an interim order in favour of the petitioner, the same shall continue till further orders.

Let this matter be placed before Hon’ble the Chief Justice.

( Rongon Mukhopadhyay, J) Rakesh/

  • Prachi Singh Advocate
  • Supreme Court of India

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The Hon’ble Court held that:-

For the time being, we are concerned with four categories of witnesses – a third party disinterested and unrelated witness (such as a bystander or passer-by); a third party interested witness (such as a trap witness); a related and therefore an interested witness (such as the wife of the victim) having an interest in seeing that the accused is punished; a related and therefore an interested witness (such as the wife or brother of the victim) having an interest in seeing the accused punished and also having some enmity with the accused. But, more than the categorization of a witness, the issue really is one of appreciation of the evidence of a witness. A court should examine the evidence of a related and interested witness having an interest in seeing the accused punished and also having some enmity with the accused with greater care and caution than the evidence of a third party disinterested and unrelated witness. This is all that is expected and required.

In the present case, PW-5 Srinivasan is not only a related and interested witness, but also someone who has an enmity with the appellants. His evidence, therefore, needs to be scrutinized with great care and caution.

In Dalip Singh v. State of Punjab, 1954 SCR 145 this Court observed, without any generalization, that a related witness would ordinarily speak the truth, but in the case of an enmity there may be a tendency to drag in an innocent person as an accused – each case has to be considered on its own facts. This is what this Court had to say:

“A witness is normally to be considered independent unless he or she springs from sources which are likely to be tainted and that usually means unless the witness has cause, such as enmity against the accused, to wish to implicate him falsely. Ordinarily, a close relative would be the last to screen the real culprit and falsely implicate an innocent person. It is true, when feelings run high and there is personal cause for enmity, that there is a tendency to drag in an innocent person against whom a witness has a grudge along with the guilty, but foundation must be laid for such a criticism and the mere fact of relationship far from being a foundation is often a sure guarantee of truth. However, we are not attempting any sweeping generalisation. Each case must be judged on its own facts. Our observations are only made to combat what is so often put forward in cases before us as a general rule of prudence. There is no such general rule. Each case must be limited to and be governed by its own facts.”

  1. How the evidence of such a witness should be looked at was again considered in Darya Singh v. State of Punjab, (1964) 3 SCR 397. This Court was of the opinion that a related or interested witness may not be hostile to the assailant, but if he is, then his evidence must be examined very carefully and all the infirmities taken into account. It was observed that where the witness shares the hostility of the victim against the assailant, it would be unlikely that he would not name the real assailant but would substitute the real assailant with the “enemy” of the victim. This is what this Court said:

“There can be no doubt that in a murder case when evidence is given by near relatives of the victim and the murder is alleged to have been committed by the enemy of the family, criminal courts must examine the evidence of the interested witnesses, like the relatives of the victim, very carefully. But a person may be interested in the victim, being his relation or otherwise, and may not necessarily be hostile to the accused. In that case, the fact that the witness was related to the victim or was his friend, may not necessarily introduce any infirmity in his evidence. But where the witness is a close relation of the victim and is shown to share the victim’s hostility to his assailant, that naturally makes it necessary for the criminal courts examine the evidence given by such witness very carefully and scrutinise all the infirmities in that evidence before deciding to act upon it…….. [I]t may be relevant to remember that though the witness is hostile to the assailant, it is not likely that he would deliberately omit to name the real assailant and substitute in his place the name of the enemy of the family out of malice. The desire to punish the victim would be so powerful in his mind that he would unhesitatingly name the real assailant and would not think of substituting in his place the enemy of the family though he was not concerned with the assault. It is not improbable that in giving evidence, such a witness may name the real assailant and may add other persons out of malice and enmity and that is a factor which has to be borne in mind in appreciating the evidence of interested witnesses. On principle, however, it is difficult to accept the plea that if a witness is shown to be a relative of the deceased and it is also shown that he shared the hostility of the victim towards the assailant, his evidence can never be accepted unless it is corroborated on material particulars.”

More recently, in Waman v. State of Maharashtra, (2011) 7 SCC 295 this Court dealt with the case of a related witness (though not a witness inimical to the assailant) and while referring to and relying upon Sarwan Singh v. State of Punjab, (1976) 4 SCC 369, Balraje v. State of Maharashtra, (2010) 6 SCC 673, Prahlad Patel v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (2011) 4 SCC 262, Israr v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (2005) 9 SCC 616, S. Sudershan Reddy v. State of Andhra Pradesh, (2006) 10 SCC 163, State of Uttar Pradesh v. Naresh, (2011) 4 SCC 324, Jarnail Singh v. State of Punjab, (2009) 9 SCC 719 and Vishnu v. State of Rajasthan, (2009) 10 SCC 477 it was held:

“It is clear that merely because the witnesses are related to the complainant or the deceased, their evidence cannot be thrown out. If their evidence is found to be consistent and true, the fact of being a relative cannot by itself discredit their evidence. In other words, the relationship is not a factor to affect the credibility of a witness and the courts have to scrutinise their evidence meticulously with a little care.”

The sum and substance is that the evidence of a related or interested witness should be meticulously and carefully examined. In a case where the related and interested witness may have some enmity with the assailant, the bar would need to be raised and the evidence of the witness would have to be examined by applying a standard of discerning scrutiny. However, this is only a rule of prudence and not one of law, as held in Dalip Singh and pithily reiterated in Sarwan Singh in the following words:

 

“The evidence of an interested witness does not suffer from any infirmity as such, but the courts require as a rule of prudence, not as a rule of law, that the evidence of such witnesses should be scrutinised with a little care. Once that approach is made and the court is satisfied that the evidence of interested witnesses have a ring of truth such evidence could be relied upon even without corroboration.”


 

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1614 OF 2009

Raju @ Balachandran & Ors.              …..Appellant (s)

Versus

State of Tamil Nadu                           …..Respondent (s)

J U D G M E N T

Madan B. Lokur, J.

  1. The issue before us is whether the Trial Court and the High Court were both right in believing the testimony of PW-5 Srinivasan, a related and interested witness, that his brother Veerappan and his mother Marudayi were murdered by the appellants. Whether such an issue is of such public importance that it requires a decision from this Court is moot. But, be that as it may, we find no reason to disbelieve the witness and agree with both the Courts that his evidence should be accepted.
  1. Accordingly, we uphold the conviction and sentence of the appellants for having committed the murder of Veerappan and Marudayi. The facts:
  1. Appellant No. 1 (Raju @ Balachandran) is the father of appellant No. 2 (Rajkumar) and of appellant No. 3 (Sekar).
  1. The case of the prosecution was that there was some enmity between the appellants and Veerappan relating to a ritual called “Mandu Vettal” performed before worshipping God in their village. The enmity dated back to about 4 or 5 years prior to the incident that we are concerned with.

 

  1. On 4th May 2003 at about 5.30 a.m. Veerappan had gone to the tea shop of PW-7 Kamaraj and was returning along with PW-1 Thangavel and PW-5 Srinivasan (brother of Veerappan) who were following him. As Veerappan approached his house, the appellants stopped him in the middle of the road and attacked him. Raju dealt a sickle blow on his right leg below the knee. This was followed by sickle blows inflicted on his shoulder, neck and head by Raj Kumar and Sekar. Veerappan died instantaneously, his head having almost been severed from the body.
  1. On hearing some shouting, Veerappan’s mother Marudayi came out of her house. When she saw what was happening, she came to rescue Veerappan and confront the appellants. At that time, Raju dealt her blows with his sickle on her neck, shoulder and head. Marudayi succumbed to her injuries a short while later en route to the hospital, where she was being taken by PW- 5 Srinivasan.
  1. A First Information Report (FIR) of the incident was lodged by PW-1 Thangavel and thereafter investigations were started by the police.
  1. According to the prosecution PW-1 Thangavel and PW-5 Srinivasan were eye witnesses to the incident. Also, when the attack on Veerappan and Marudayi took place, PW-2 Smt. Thangammal (wife of Srinivasan), PW-3 Rajagopal and PW-4 Smt. T. Vasugi came out of their house and witnessed the incident.
  1. The appellants fled away after attacking Veerappan and Marudayi. Later on they surrendered in the local Court. When the investigating officer came to know of this, he sought their custody by moving an application in the Court. He was granted custody of the appellants on 14th May 2003. According to the prosecution, their confessional statement led to the recovery of the sickles used in the attack on the deceased. The clothes worn by the appellants were also recovered.
  1. On the conclusion of investigations, a challan was filed alleging that the appellants had murdered Veerappan and Marudayi. In Sessions Case No.76/2004 before the Additional District & Sessions Judge (Fast Track Court), Tiruchirapally, the appellants pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. The prosecution examined seventeen witnesses while the defence examined two witnesses.

Decision of the Trial Court:

 

  1. During the trial, PW-1 Thangavel, the author of the FIR, PW-3 Rajagopal and PW-4 Smt. Vasugi turned hostile. The Trial Judge was of the view that PW-2 Smt. Thangammal and PW-5 Srinivasan were eye witnesses and believed the testimony of PW-2 Smt. Thangammal (in part) and that of PW-5 Srinivasan (in full).
  1. The Trial Judge held that PW-2 Smt. Thangammal generally stated that all the appellants caused injuries to the deceased without being specific. Consequently, her testimony relating to the sickle blows was not accepted.
  1. As regards PW-5 Srinivasan, it was held that he was specific in saying that Raju injured Veerappan with a sickle on the right leg below the knee, while the other two appellants injured him on his shoulder and neck. The nature of injuries was confirmed by the doctor PW-8 Dr. Sumathi Paul Raj. The evidence on record showed that Veerappan’s head was almost severed from his body and his death was instantaneous. The Trial Judge also accepted the evidence of PW-5 Srinivasan that Marudayi was grievously injured by Raju on the head, neck and shoulder. Again, the nature of injuries was confirmed by the doctor PW-8 Dr. Sumathi Paul Raj who stated that Marudayi died as a result of the injuries.
  1. The Trial Judge rejected the contention that since PW-5 Srinivasan was the elder brother of Veerappan and son of Marudayi, his evidence was that of an interested witness and therefore should not be accepted. He also rejected the contention that since the evidence of PW-5 Srinivasan was not corroborated, his evidence should not be accepted.

 

  1. PW-6 Marudai, father of Veerappan and husband of Marudayi testified to the enmity between the parties as a result of the ritual “Mandu Vettal”.

 

  1. PW-7 Kamaraj the owner of the tea shop visited by Veerappan also turned hostile. He denied that Veerappan was followed by PW-1 Thangavel and PW-5 Srinivasan, but he did not deny that Veerappan had visited his tea shop on the fateful morning.
  1. The other witnesses examined by the prosecution were the doctors who conducted the post mortem, the officers who investigated the occurrence and some others whose testimony is not of much significance.
  1. The Trial Judge rejected the testimony of the two defence witnesses as not credible. DW-1 Murugesan stated that the appellants had come to his house on 3rd May 2003 and had stayed with DW-2 Smt. S. Vasantha. However, this witness was not aware about when the appellants had come to his house and after they left for the house of DW-2 Smt. S. Vasantha when did they return.
  1. DW-2 Smt. S. Vasantha was not believed since she stated that the appellants had gone to a temple festival in her village but there was nothing to support this statement.
  1. Based principally on the evidence of PW-5 Srinivasan and the recoveries made, the Trial Court, by its judgment and order dated 26th November 2004 convicted Raju for offences punishable under Section 341 of the Indian Penal Code (for short ‘IPC’) and Section 326 of the IPC in respect of Veerappan and Section 302 of the IPC for the murder of Marudayi. Rajkumar and Sekar were convicted of offences punishable under Section 302 of the IPC read with Section 34 thereof for the murder of Veerappan. Decision of the High Court:
  1. In Criminal Appeal No.4/2005 filed by the appellants before the Madras High Court it was contended that since PW-1 Thangavel, PW-3 Rajagopal and PW-4 Smt. Vasugi had turned hostile, there was no credible evidence against the appellants, more so, because the author of the FIR PW- 1 Thangavel had turned hostile. As such, the very basis of the case could not be relied upon.
  1. It was further submitted that the Trial Court had not fully believed PW-2 Smt. Thangammal and the only witness who came out in support of the case of the prosecution was PW-5 Srinivasan. It was submitted that there were some discrepancies in his evidence and as per the FIR he was not present at the place of occurrence. Therefore, it was submitted, the evidence of PW-5 Srinivasan could not be relied upon.
  1. On the credibility of PW-5 Srinivasan, it was contended that the medical evidence did not match with his oral evidence and it would be unsafe to rely on his oral description of the events. In addition, it was submitted that since PW-5 Srinivasan was a related and interested witness, his testimony should be closely scrutinized and on such close scrutiny it would turn out that he was not a reliable witness.
  1. The High Court rejected all the contentions urged on behalf of the appellants. It was held that there was no doubt that Veerappan and Marudayi died as a result of homicidal violence. It was further held that on an examination of the evidence of PW-5 Srinivasan it could not be said that he was an unreliable witness. While there may have been some minor discrepancies in his description of the events, he was believed by the Trial Judge and there was no reason for the High Court to disbelieve him.
  1. The High Court noted that on a reading of the FIR it was clear that PW-5 Srinivasan was present at the place of occurrence. In addition thereto, the FIR also mentioned that PW-1 Thangavel had asked PW-5 Srinivasan to take Marudayi to the hospital for treatment. Consequently, the presence of PW-5 Srinivasan at the place of occurrence could not be doubted.
  1. The High Court also held that there was some enmity between the appellants and Veerappan and on an overview of the entire case, the conviction handed down by the Trial Court must be accepted.
  1. Accordingly, the High Court, by its judgment and order dated 2nd August 2006 dismissed the appeal filed by the appellants. Discussion:
  1. Before us, only two contentions were advanced by learned counsel for the appellants. Firstly, it was contended that since PW-5 Srinivasan was a related and interested witness, his evidence must be closely scrutinized, and if his testimony is put to close scrutiny, it will be quite clear that he ought not to be believed. Secondly, it was contended that the prosecution case was doubtful since there was no evidence except the unreliable testimony of PW-5 Srinivasan.
  1. The first contention relates to the credibility of PW-5 Srinivasan. It was said in this regard that he was a related witness being the elder brother of Veerappan and the son of Marudayi both of whom were victims of the homicidal attack. It was also said that he was an interested witness since Veerappan (and therefore PW-5 Srinivasan) had some enmity with the appellants. It was said that for both reasons, his testimony lacks credibility.
  1. What is the difference between a related witness and an interested witness? This has been brought out in State of Rajasthan v. Kalki, (1981) 2 SCC 752. It was held that:

“True, it is, she is the wife of the deceased; but she cannot be called an “interested” witness. She is related to the deceased. “Related” is not equivalent to “interested”. A witness may be called “interested” only when he or she derives some benefit from the result of a litigation; in the decree in a civil case, or in seeing an accused person punished. A witness who is a natural one and is the only possible eyewitness in the circumstances of a case cannot be said to be “interested”.”

  1. In light of the Constitution Bench decision in State of Bihar v. Basawan Singh, AIR 1958 SC 500 the view that a “natural witness” or “the only possible eyewitness” cannot be an interested witness may not be, with respect, correct. In Basawan Singh, a trap witness (who would be a natural eyewitness) was considered an interested witness since he was “concerned in the success of the trap”. The Constitution Bench held:

“The correct Rule is this: if any of the witnesses are accomplices who are particeps criminis in respect of the actual crime charged, their evidence must be treated as the evidence of accomplices is treated; if they are not accomplices but are partisan or interested witnesses, who are concerned in the success of the trap, their evidence must be tested in the same way as other interested evidence is tested by the application of diverse considerations which must vary from case to case, and in a proper case, the court may even look for independent corroboration before convicting the accused person.”

  1. The wife of a deceased (as in Kalki), undoubtedly related to the victim, would be interested in seeing the accused person punished – in fact, she would be the most interested in seeing the accused person punished. It can hardly be said that she is not an interested witness. The view expressed in Kalki is too narrow and generalized and needs a rethink.
  1. For the time being, we are concerned with four categories of witnesses – a third party disinterested and unrelated witness (such as a bystander or passer-by); a third party interested witness (such as a trap witness); a related and therefore an interested witness (such as the wife of the victim) having an interest in seeing that the accused is punished; a related and therefore an interested witness (such as the wife or brother of the victim) having an interest in seeing the accused punished and also having some enmity with the accused. But, more than the categorization of a witness, the issue really is one of appreciation of the evidence of a witness. A court should examine the evidence of a related and interested witness having an interest in seeing the accused punished and also having some enmity with the accused with greater care and caution than the evidence of a third party disinterested and unrelated witness. This is all that is expected and required.
  1. In the present case, PW-5 Srinivasan is not only a related and interested witness, but also someone who has an enmity with the appellants. His evidence, therefore, needs to be scrutinized with great care and caution.
  1. In Dalip Singh v. State of Punjab, 1954 SCR 145 this Court observed, without any generalization, that a related witness would ordinarily speak the truth, but in the case of an enmity there may be a tendency to drag in an innocent person as an accused – each case has to be considered on its own facts. This is what this Court had to say:

“A witness is normally to be considered independent unless he or she springs from sources which are likely to be tainted and that usually means unless the witness has cause, such as enmity against the accused, to wish to implicate him falsely. Ordinarily, a close relative would be the last to screen the real culprit and falsely implicate an innocent person. It is true, when feelings run high and there is personal cause for enmity, that there is a tendency to drag in an innocent person against whom a witness has a grudge along with the guilty, but foundation must be laid for such a criticism and the mere fact of relationship far from being a foundation is often a sure guarantee of truth. However, we are not attempting any sweeping generalisation. Each case must be judged on its own facts. Our observations are only made to combat what is so often put forward in cases before us as a general rule of prudence. There is no such general rule. Each case must be limited to and be governed by its own facts.”

  1. How the evidence of such a witness should be looked at was again considered in Darya Singh v. State of Punjab, (1964) 3 SCR 397. This Court was of the opinion that a related or interested witness may not be hostile to the assailant, but if he is, then his evidence must be examined very carefully and all the infirmities taken into account. It was observed that where the witness shares the hostility of the victim against the assailant, it would be unlikely that he would not name the real assailant but would substitute the real assailant with the “enemy” of the victim. This is what this Court said:

“There can be no doubt that in a murder case when evidence is given by near relatives of the victim and the murder is alleged to have been committed by the enemy of the family, criminal courts must examine the evidence of the interested witnesses, like the relatives of the victim, very carefully. But a person may be interested in the victim, being his relation or otherwise, and may not necessarily be hostile to the accused. In that case, the fact that the witness was related to the victim or was his friend, may not necessarily introduce any infirmity in his evidence. But where the witness is a close relation of the victim and is shown to share the victim’s hostility to his assailant, that naturally makes it necessary for the criminal courts examine the evidence given by such witness very carefully and scrutinise all the infirmities in that evidence before deciding to act upon it…….. [I]t may be relevant to remember that though the witness is hostile to the assailant, it is not likely that he would deliberately omit to name the real assailant and substitute in his place the name of the enemy of the family out of malice. The desire to punish the victim would be so powerful in his mind that he would unhesitatingly name the real assailant and would not think of substituting in his place the enemy of the family though he was not concerned with the assault. It is not improbable that in giving evidence, such a witness may name the real assailant and may add other persons out of malice and enmity and that is a factor which has to be borne in mind in appreciating the evidence of interested witnesses. On principle, however, it is difficult to accept the plea that if a witness is shown to be a relative of the deceased and it is also shown that he shared the hostility of the victim towards the assailant, his evidence can never be accepted unless it is corroborated on material particulars.”

  1. More recently, in Waman v. State of Maharashtra, (2011) 7 SCC 295 this Court dealt with the case of a related witness (though not a witness inimical to the assailant) and while referring to and relying upon Sarwan Singh v. State of Punjab, (1976) 4 SCC 369, Balraje v. State of Maharashtra, (2010) 6 SCC 673, Prahlad Patel v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (2011) 4 SCC 262, Israr v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (2005) 9 SCC 616, S. Sudershan Reddy v. State of Andhra Pradesh, (2006) 10 SCC 163, State of Uttar Pradesh v. Naresh, (2011) 4 SCC 324, Jarnail Singh v. State of Punjab, (2009) 9 SCC 719 and Vishnu v. State of Rajasthan, (2009) 10 SCC 477 it was held:

“It is clear that merely because the witnesses are related to the complainant or the deceased, their evidence cannot be thrown out. If their evidence is found to be consistent and true, the fact of being a relative cannot by itself discredit their evidence. In other words, the relationship is not a factor to affect the credibility of a witness and the courts have to scrutinise their evidence meticulously with a little care.”

  1. The sum and substance is that the evidence of a related or interested witness should be meticulously and carefully examined. In a case where the related and interested witness may have some enmity with the assailant, the bar would need to be raised and the evidence of the witness would have to be examined by applying a standard of discerning scrutiny. However, this is only a rule of prudence and not one of law, as held in Dalip Singh and pithily reiterated in Sarwan Singh in the following words:

“The evidence of an interested witness does not suffer from any infirmity as such, but the courts require as a rule of prudence, not as a rule of law, that the evidence of such witnesses should be scrutinised with a little care. Once that approach is made and the court is satisfied that the evidence of interested witnesses have a ring of truth such evidence could be relied upon even without corroboration.”

  1. We have gone through the evidence of PW-5 Srinivasan by applying the discerning scrutiny standard and find it difficult to overturn the view expressed by both the Courts in their acceptance of his evidence. His description of the events is simple and straightforward and the cross- examination does not demolish his version of the events. In fact, the cross- examination is directed more at proving that one Subramaniam may have been the assailant since Veerappan had an illicit relationship with Subramaniam’s first wife Periammal. This was ruled out by PW-5 Srinivasan who did not want to shield the real assailant and put the blame for the occurrence on someone else.
  1. As far as the second contention is concerned, it overlaps with the first. Both the Trial Court and the High Court have concurrently held that PW-5 Srinivasan was an eye witness to the murder of Veerappan and Marudayi. The conclusion arrived at by both the Courts has not been shown to be perverse in any manner whatsoever nor has it been shown deserving of reversal.
  1. The presence of PW-5 Srinivasan at the place of occurrence cannot be doubted in view of the FIR lodged by PW-1 Thangavel and his testimony. Even though PW-1 Thangavel may have turned hostile, the fact remains that a report was made to the police about the homicidal attack on Veerappan and Marudayi. That there was a homicidal attack on them is not in dispute. This is confirmed even by the witnesses who turned hostile. It is also not in dispute that Veerappan died on the spot and that Marudayi was grievously injured. This too is confirmed by the witnesses who turned hostile. That PW- 5 Srinivasan took Marudayi to the hospital immediately after she was attacked is confirmed by PW-1 Thangavel. On the basis of these facts, which are evident from the record, there is no option but to accept the conclusion of both the Courts that PW-5 Srinivasan was present at the place of occurrence and was an eye witness to the incident. His testimony is not unreliable but is supported in its essential details by the testimony of the other witnesses.

Conclusion:

  1. We find the evidence of PW-5 Srinivasan credible notwithstanding that he was a related and interested witness. Accordingly, we uphold the conviction and sentence awarded to the appellants by the Trial Court and confirmed by the High Court.
  1. The appeal is dismissed.

.…….……………………..J.

(Swatanter Kumar) ….…….……………………..J.

(Madan B. Lokur)

What is Inquest Report ?

An inquest is a judicial inquiry in common law jurisdictions, particularly one held to determine the cause of a person’s death. Conducted by a judge, jury, or government official, an inquest may or may not require an autopsy carried out by a coroner or medical examiner.

Police to enquire and report on suicide, etc. As per Sec. 174 of Cr.P.C.

(1) When the officer in charge of a police station or some other police officer specially empowered by the State Government in that behalf receives information that a person has committed suicide, or has been killed by another or by an animal or by machinery or by an accident, or has died under circumstances raising a reasonable suspicion that some other person has committed an offence, he shall immediately give intimation thereof to the nearest Executive Magistrate empowered to hold inquests, and, unless otherwise directed by any rule prescribed by the State Government, or by any general or special order of the District or Sub- divisional Magistrate, shall proceed to the place where the body

of such deceased person is, and there, in the presence of two’ or more respectable inhabitants of the neighbourhood, shall make an investiga- tion, and draw up a report of the apparent cause of death, describing such wounds, fractures, bruises, and other marks of injury as may be found on the body, and stating in what manner, or by what weapon or instrument (if any); such marks appear to have been inflicted.

(2) The report shall be signed by such police officer and other persons, or by so many of them as concur therein, and shall be forthwith forwarded to the District Magistrate or the Sub- divisional Magistrate.

(3) 1 When-

(i) the case involves suicide by a woman within seven years of her marriage; or

(ii) the case relates to the death of a woman within seven years of her marriage in any circumstances raising a reasonable suspicion that some other person committed an offence in relation to such woman; or

(iii) the case relates to the death of a woman within seven years of her marriage and any relative of the woman has made a request in this behalf; or

(iv) there is any doubt regarding the cause of death; or

(v) the police officer for any other reason considers it expedient so to do, he shall. subject to such rules as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf, forward the body, with a view to its being examined, to the nearest Civil Surgeon, or other qualified medical man appointed in this behalf by the State Government, if the state of the weather and the distance admit of its being so forwarded without risk of such putrefaction on the road as would render such examination useless.

(4) The following Magistrates are empowered to hold inquests, namely, any District Magistrate or Sub- divisional Magistrate and any other Executive Magistrate specially empowered in this behalf by the State Government or the District Magistrate.

In Podda Narayana v. State of A.P. AIR 1975 SC 1252 it was held that the proceedings under Section 174 have a very limited scope. The object of the proceedings is merely to ascertain whether a person has died under suspicious circumstances or an unnatural death and if so what is the apparent cause of the death. The question regarding the details as to how the deceased was assaulted or who assaulted him or under what circumstances he was assaulted is foreign to the ambit and scope of the proceedings under S. 174. Neither in practice nor in law was it necessary for the police to mention those details in the inquest report. It is, therefore, not necessary to enter all the details of the overt acts in the inquest report. Their omission is not sufficient to put the prosecution out of Court. In Shakila Khader v. Nausher Gama AIR 1975 SC 1324 the contention raised that non-mention of a person’s name in the inquest report would show that he was not a eye- witness of the incident was repelled on the ground that an inquest under Section 174 Cr.P.C. is concerned with establishing the cause of death and only evidence necessary to establish it need be brought out. The same view was taken in Eqbal Baig v. State of Andhra Pradesh AIR 1987 SC 923 that the non-mention of name of an eye-witness in the inquest report could not be a ground to reject his testimony. Similarly, the absence of the name of the accused in the inquest report cannot lead to an inference that he was not present at the time of commission of the offence as the inquest report is not the statement of a person wherein all the names (accused and also the eye-witnesses) ought to have been mentioned. The view taken in Podda Narayana v. State of A.P. (supra) was approved by a three-Judge Bench in Khujji @ Surendra Tiwari v. State of Madhya Pradesh AIR 1991 SC 1853 and it was held that the testimony of an eye-witness could not be discarded on the ground that their names did not figure in the inquest report prepared at the earliest point of time. The nature and purpose of inquest held under Section 174 Cr.P.C. was also explained in Amar Singh v. Balwinder Singh 2003 (2) SCC 518. In the said case the High Court had observed that the fact that the details about the occurrence were not mentioned in the inquest report showed that the investigating officer was not sure of the facts when the inquest report was prepared and the said feature of the case carried weight in favour of the accused. After noticing the language used in Section 174 Cr.P.C. and earlier decisions of this Court it was ruled that the High Court was clearly in error in observing as aforesaid or drawing any inference against the prosecution. Thus, it is well settled by a catena of decisions of this Court that the purpose of holding an inquest is very limited, viz., to ascertain as to whether a person has committed suicide or has been killed by another or by an animal or by machinery or by an accident or has died under circumstances raising a reasonable suspicion that some other person has committed an offence. There is absolutely no requirement in law of mentioning the details of the FIR, names of the accused or the names of the eye-witnesses or the gist of their statement nor it is required to be signed by any eye-witness. In Meharaj Singh v. State of U.P. (supra) the language used by the legislature in Section 174 Cr.P.C. was not taken note of nor the earlier decisions of this Court were referred to and some sweeping observations have been made which are not supported by the statutory provision. We are, therefore, of the opinion that the observations made in paras 11 and 12 of the reports do not represent the correct statement of law and they are hereby over-ruled. The challenge laid to the prosecution case by Shri Jain on the basis of the alleged infirmity or omission in the inquest report has, therefore, no substance and cannot be accepted.

                                         Citation

Supreme Court of India

Radha Mohan Singh @ Lal Saheb & … vs State Of U.P on 20 January, 2006

CASE NO.:Appeal (crl.)  1183-1185 of 2004

PETITIONER:        Radha Mohan Singh @ Lal Saheb & others

Versus

RESPONDENT                         ……State of U.P.

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 20/01/2006

BENCH : Shri K.G. BALAKRISHNAN, ARUN KUMAR & G.P. MATHUR

Section 438 is a procedural provision which is concerned with the personal liberty of an individual who is entitled to plead innocence, since he is not on the date of application for exercise of power under Section 438 of the Code convicted for the offence in respect of which he seeks bail. The applicant must show that he has “reason to believe” that he may be arrested in a non-bailable offence. Use of the expression “reason to believe” shows that the belief that the applicant may be arrested must be founded on reasonable grounds. Mere “fear” is not “belief” for which reason it is not enough for the applicant to show that he has some sort of vague apprehension that someone is going to make an accusation against him in pursuance of which he may be arrested. Grounds on which the belief of the applicant is based that he may be arrested in non-bailable offence must be capable of being examined. If an application is made to the High Court or the Court of Session, it is for the court concerned to decide whether a case has been made out for granting of the relief sought.

The provisions cannot be invoked after arrest of the accused. A blanket order should not be generally passed. It flows from the very language of the section which requires the applicant to show that he has reason to believe that he may be arrested. A belief can be said to be founded on reasonable grounds only if there is something tangible to go by on the basis of which it can be said that the applicant’s apprehension that he may be arrested is genuine. Normally a direction should not issue to the effect that the applicant shall be released on bail “whenever arrested for whichever offence whatsoever”. Such “blanket order” should not be passed as it would serve as a blanket to cover or protect any and every kind of allegedly unlawful activity. An order under Section 438 is a device to secure the individual’s liberty, it is neither a passport to the commission of crimes nor a shield against any and all kinds of accusations likely or unlikely. On the facts of the case, considered in the background of the legal position set out above, this does not prima facie appear to be a case where any order in terms of Section 438 of the Code can be passed.”


REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

1 CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.   2049        OF 2013

(Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 4102 of 2013)

State of Madhya Pradesh                               …. Appellant(s)

Versus

Pradeep Sharma                                             ….

Respondent(s)

WITH

2 CRIMINAL APPEAL No.   2050         OF 2013

(Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 4406 of 2013)

J U D G M E N T

P.Sathasivam, CJI.

1)    Leave granted.

2)    These appeals are  filed  against  the  orders  dated  10.01.2013  and

17.01.2013 passed by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh Principal Seat at Jabalpur in Misc. Criminal Case Nos. 9996 of 2012 and 15283 of 2012 respectively whereby the High Court granted anticipatory bail to the respondents herein.

3)    Brief facts:

  1. a) The case  of  the  prosecution  is  that  Rajesh  Singh  Thakur  (the

deceased), resident of village Gopalpur, Tehsil Chaurai, District Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh and Pradeep Sharma (respondent herein), resident of the same village, were having enmity with each other on account of election to the post of Sarpanch.

  1. b) On 10.09.2011, Pradeep Sharma (respondent herein), in order to get rid of Rajesh Singh Thakur (the deceased), conspired along with other accused persons and managed to call him to the Pawar Tea House, Chhindwara on the pretext of setting up of a tower in a field where they offered him poisoned milk rabri (sweet dish).
  2. c) After consuming the same, when he left the place to meet his sister, his condition started getting deteriorated because of vomiting and diarrhea. Immediately, the father of the deceased took him to the District Hospital, Chhindwara wherefrom he was referred to the Government Hospital, Chhindwara.
  3. d) Since there was no improvement in his condition, on 11.09.2011, he was shifted to the Care Hospital, Nagpur where he took his last breath. The hospital certified the cause of death to be poisoning. On the very same day, after sending the information to the Police Station, Sitabardi, Nagpur, the body was sent for the post mortem.
  4. e) Inder Singh Thakur-father of the deceased submitted a written complaint to the Police Station Kotwali, Chhindwara on 13.09.2011 suspecting the role of the respondents herein. After investigation, a First Information Report (in short ‘the FIR’) being No. 1034/2011 dated 18.10.2011 was registered under Sections 302 read with 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short ‘the IPC’).
  5. f) On 01.08.2012, Pradeep Sharma (respondent herein) moved an application for anticipatory bail by filing Misc. Criminal Case No. 7093 of 2012 before the High Court which got rejected vide order dated 01.08.2012 on the ground that custodial interrogation is necessary in the case.
  6. g) On 26.08.2012, a charge sheet was filed in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Chhindwara against Sanjay Namdev, Rahul Borkar, Ravi Paradkar and Vijay @ Monu Brahambhatt whereas the investigation in respect of Pradeep Sharma, Sudhir Sharma and Gudda @ Naresh Raghuvanshi (respondents herein), absconding accused, continued since the very date of the incident.
  7. h) On 21.11.2012, arrest warrants were issued against Pradeep Sharma, Sudhir Sharma and Gudda @ Naresh Raghuvanshi but the same were returned to the Court without service. Since the accused persons were not traceable, on 29.11.2012, a proclamation under Section 82 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (in short ‘the Code’) was issued against them for their appearance to answer the complaint.
  8. i) Instead of appealing the order dated 01.08.2012, Pradeep Sharma (respondent herein) filed another application for anticipatory bail being Misc. Criminal Case No. 9996 of 2012 before the High Court. Vide order dated 10.01.2013, the High Court granted anticipatory bail to Pradeep Sharma (respondent herein). Similarly, another accused-Gudda @ Naresh Raghuvanshi was granted anticipatory bail by the High Court vide order dated 17.01.2013 in Misc. Criminal Case No. 15283 of 2012.
  9. j) Being aggrieved by the orders dated 10.01.2013 and 17.01.2013, State of Madhya Pradesh has filed the above appeals before this Court.
  10. k) In the meantime, the respondents herein approached the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Chhindwara for the grant of regular bail. Vide order dated 20.02.2013, the accused persons were enlarged on bail.

4) Heard Ms. Vibha Datta Makhija, learned senior counsel for the appellant-State and Mr. Niraj Sharma, learned counsel for the respondents.

5) The only question for consideration in these appeals is whether the High Court is justified in granting anticipatory bail under Section 438 of the Code to the respondents/accused when the investigation is pending, particularly, when both the accused had been absconding all along and not cooperating with the investigation.

6) Ms. Vibha Datta Makhija, learned senior counsel for the appellant- State, by drawing our attention to the charge sheet, submitted that the charges filed against the respondents/accused relate to Sections 302, 120B and 34 of the IPC which are all serious offences and also of the fact that both of them being absconders from the very date of the incident, the High Court is not justified in granting anticipatory bail that too without proper analysis and discussion.

7) On the other hand, Mr. Niraj Sharma, learned counsel for the respondents in both the appeals supported the order passed by the High Court and prayed for dismissal of the appeals filed by the State.

8) We have carefully perused the relevant materials and considered the rival contentions.

9) In order to answer the above question, it is desirable to refer Section 438 of the Code which reads as under:-

“438. Direction for grant of bail to person apprehending arrest.—(1) Where any person has reason to believe that he may be arrested on accusation of having committed a non-bailable offence, he may apply to the High Court or the Court of Session for a direction under this section that in the event of such arrest he shall be released on bail; and that Court may, after taking into consideration, inter alia, the following factors, namely—

(i) the nature and gravity of the accusation;

(ii) the antecedents of the applicant including the fact as to whether he has previously undergone imprisonment on conviction by a Court in respect of any cognizable offence;

(iii) the possibility of the applicant to flee from justice; and

(iv) where the accusation has been made with the object of injuring or humiliating the applicant by having him so arrested, either reject the application forthwith or issue an interim order for the grant of anticipatory bail:

Provided that, where the High Court or, as the case may be, the Court of Session, has not passed any interim order under this sub-section or has rejected the application for grant of anticipatory bail, it shall be open to an officer in charge of a police station to arrest, without warrant the applicant on the basis of the accusation apprehended in such application.

Xxx xxx xxx”

10) The above provision makes it clear that the power exercisable under Section 438 of the Code is somewhat extraordinary in character and it is to be exercised only in exceptional cases where it appears that the person may be falsely implicated or where there are reasonable grounds for holding that a person accused of an offence is not likely to otherwise misuse his liberty.

11) In Adri Dharan Das vs. State of W.B., (2005) 4 SCC 303, this Court considered the scope of Section 438 of the Code as under:-

“16. Section 438 is a procedural provision which is concerned with the personal liberty of an individual who is entitled to plead innocence, since he is not on the date of application for exercise of power under Section 438 of the Code convicted for the offence in respect of which he seeks bail. The applicant must show that he has “reason to believe” that he may be arrested in a non-bailable offence. Use of the expression “reason to believe” shows that the belief that the applicant may be arrested must be founded on reasonable grounds. Mere “fear” is not “belief” for which reason it is not enough for the applicant to show that he has some sort of vague apprehension that someone is going to make an accusation against him in pursuance of which he may be arrested. Grounds on which the belief of the applicant is based that he may be arrested in non-bailable offence must be capable of being examined. If an application is made to the High Court or the Court of Session, it is for the court concerned to decide whether a case has been made out for granting of the relief sought.

The provisions cannot be invoked after arrest of the accused. A blanket order should not be generally passed. It flows from the very language of the section which requires the applicant to show that he has reason to believe that he may be arrested. A belief can be said to be founded on reasonable grounds only if there is something tangible to go by on the basis of which it can be said that the applicant’s apprehension that he may be arrested is genuine. Normally a direction should not issue to the effect that the applicant shall be released on bail “whenever arrested for whichever offence whatsoever”. Such “blanket order” should not be passed as it would serve as a blanket to cover or protect any and every kind of allegedly unlawful activity. An order under Section 438 is a device to secure the individual’s liberty, it is neither a passport to the commission of crimes nor a shield against any and all kinds of accusations likely or unlikely. On the facts of the case, considered in the background of the legal position set out above, this does not prima facie appear to be a case where any order in terms of Section 438 of the Code can be passed.”

12) Recently, in Lavesh vs. State (NCT of Delhi), (2012) 8 SCC 730, this Court, (of which both of us were parties) considered the scope of granting relief under Section 438 vis-à-vis to a person who was declared as an absconder or proclaimed offender in terms of Section 82 of the Code. In para 12, this Court held as under:

“12. From these materials and information, it is clear that the present appellant was not available for interrogation and investigation and was declared as “absconder”. Normally, when the accused is “absconding” and declared as a “proclaimed offender”, there is no question of granting anticipatory bail. We reiterate that when a person against whom a warrant had been issued and is absconding or concealing himself in order to avoid execution of warrant and declared as a proclaimed offender in terms of Section 82 of the Code he is not entitled to the relief of anticipatory bail.” It is clear from the above decision that if anyone is declared as an absconder/proclaimed offender in terms of Section 82 of the Code, he is not entitled to the relief of anticipatory bail. In the case on hand, a perusal of the materials i.e., confessional statements of Sanjay Namdev, Pawan Kumar @ Ravi and Vijay @ Monu Brahambhatt reveals that the respondents administered poisonous substance to the deceased. Further, the statements of witnesses that were recorded and the report of the Department of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology Government Medical College & Hospital, Nagpur dated 21.03.2012 have confirmed the existence of poison in milk rabri. Further, it is brought to our notice that warrants were issued on 21.11.2012 for the arrest of the respondents herein. Since they were not available/traceable, a proclamation under Section 82 of the Code was issued on 29.11.2012. The documents (Annexure-P13) produced by the State clearly show that the CJM, Chhindwara, M.P. issued a proclamation requiring the appearance of both the respondents/accused under Section 82 of the Code to answer the complaint on 29.12.2012. All these materials were neither adverted to nor considered by the High Court while granting anticipatory bail and the High Court, without indicating any reason except stating “facts and circumstances of the case”, granted an order of anticipatory bail to both the accused. It is relevant to point out that both the accused are facing prosecution for offences punishable under Sections 302 and 120B read with Section 34 of IPC. In such serious offences, particularly, the respondents/accused being proclaimed offenders, we are unable to sustain the impugned orders of granting anticipatory bail. The High Court failed to appreciate that it is a settled position of law that where the accused has been declared as an absconder and has not cooperated with the investigation, he should not be granted anticipatory bail.

13) In the light of what is stated above, the impugned orders of the High Court dated 10.01.2013 and 17.01.2013 in Misc. Criminal Case Nos. 9996 of 2012 and 15283 of 2012 respectively are set aside. Consequently, the subsequent order of the CJM dated 20.02.2013 in Crime No. 1034 of 2011 releasing the accused on bail after taking them into custody in compliance with the impugned order of the High Court is also set aside.

14) In view of the same, both the respondents/accused are directed to surrender before the court concerned within a period of two weeks failing which the trial Court is directed to take them into custody and send them to jail.

15) Both the appeals are allowed on the above terms.

………….…………………………CJI.

(P. SATHASIVAM) .………….……………………………J.

(RANJAN GOGOI) NEW DELHI;