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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

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Coram: THE HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE RONGON MUKHOPADHYAY

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For the Petitioner     : Mr. Indrajit Sinha, Advocate

For the State          : APP

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

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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/

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