Punjab & Haryana High Court Grants Bail To Man Accused Of Offence Prima Facie Less Serious Than Co-Accused Who Are On Bail
If the role attributed to the accused in an offence is prima facie less serious than the role attributed to the co-accused who have been granted the benefit of bail under S.438 CrPC and under S.439 CrPC, and if the accused is a first-time offender, then he deserves an opportunity to course-correct and the opportunity of bail cannot be denied to him. A single-judge bench of...
If the role attributed to the accused in an offence is prima facie less serious than the role attributed to the co-accused who have been granted the benefit of bail under S.438 CrPC and under S.439 CrPC, and if the accused is a first-time offender, then he deserves an opportunity to course-correct and the opportunity of bail cannot be denied to him.
A single-judge bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court presided over by Justice Anoop Chitkara has recently observed that if the accused is a first-time offender and if his co-accused who were similarly placed, have been granted bail, even though the role of co-accused in the offence was more serious than that of the accused, then accused's bail application should be accepted and the accused should be given a chance for grant of bail.
The facts of the case involve an accused from Sonipat who had been charged under Sections 148 (Rioting armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of the offence committed in prosecution of a common object), 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapon), 325 (Punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt) and 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) under the FIR.
He had approached the High Court seeking bail under S.439 (Special Powers of High Court or Court of Sessions regarding Bail) of CrPC.
While the counsel for the petitioner, Advocate Vikas Gulia argued that custodial investigation would serve no purpose and surmised that pre-trial incarceration would cause injustice to the petitioner and his family, the DAG representing State contended that since the challan has been presented and charges have been framed, accused should not be granted bail.
The Court concluded that the possibility of the accused to influence the investigation or to tamper with evidence or to intimidate the witnesses and subsequent thwarting of justice could be taken care of by imposing stringent and elaborate conditions.
It relied on judgment in Gurbaksh Singh v. the State of Punjab which held that the bail decision must enter cumulative effect of the variety of circumstances justifying the grant/refusal of bail.
Reference was also made to Kalyan Chandra Sarkar v. Rajesh Ranjan where a three-judge bench of Supreme Court held that if the prosecution fails to establish a prima facie case against the accused, then even persons accused in non-bailable offences are entitled to bail.
The Court further recalled the norm of bail, not jail; except where circumstances suggest thwarting the course of justice.
And thus, without commenting on the merits of the case, the Court granted the petitioner bail subject to him joining the investigation and fully cooperating with investigating agencies and following the below-mentioned conditions
- That he shall furnish a personal bond of INR 10000
- That he shall furnish one surety of INR 25000 to the satisfaction of concerned court/judicial magistrate having jurisdiction
- That he shall execute a bond for attendance in the concerned court, as and when asked to
- That he shall not influence, browbeat, pressurize, threaten or promise directly or indirectly to witnesses, police officials or any other person acquainted with facts of the case to dissuade them from disclosing such facts to the police/court or to tamper with evidence.
- That till the completion of the trial, the petition shall not contact, call, text, message, remark, stare, stalk, make any gestures or express any unusual or inappropriate, verbal or otherwise objectionable behaviour towards the victim and victim's family, either physically or through a phone call or any other social media, through any other mode, nor shall he unnecessarily roam around the victim's home.
- That the petitioner shall surrender all weapons, firearms, ammunition along with arms license to the concerned authority within 30 days from his release from prison and inform the investigator about such compliance.
Case Title: Sahil v. State of Haryana
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (PH) 5