PMLA Accused Who Has Spent Half Of Maximum Sentence As Undertial Can Be Given Bail Under S.436A CrPC : Supreme Court

The Court added that if the trial was delayed at the instance of the accused, then bail under S.436A CrPC can be denied.

Update: 2024-05-21 08:15 GMT
Click the Play button to listen to article

The Supreme Court has reiterated that the benefit of Section 436A of the Code of Criminal Procedure is applicable even to an accused under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).As per Section 436A CrPC, a person who has spent one half of the maximum period of the prescribed sentence as an undertrial shall be released on bail. In this case, the accused would complete 31⁄2 years...

Your free access to Live Law has expired
Please Subscribe for unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments, Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.

The Supreme Court has reiterated that the benefit of Section 436A of the Code of Criminal Procedure is applicable even to an accused under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).

As per Section 436A CrPC, a person who has spent one half of the maximum period of the prescribed sentence as an undertrial shall be released on bail. In this case, the accused would complete 31⁄2 years of incarceration on 26th May, 2024, meaning he would complete half of the prescribed sentence.

In the 2022 judgment in Vijay Madanlal Choudhary v. Union of India, the Supreme Court had held that Section 436A CrPC can be applied in PMLA cases.

"It is to be noted that the Section 436A of the 1973 Code was inserted after the enactment of the 2002 Act. Thus, it would not be appropriate to deny the relief of Section 436A of the 1973 Code which is a wholesome provision beneficial to a person accused under the 2002 Act," the judgment in Vijay Madanlal held.

Applying this precedent, the bench comprising Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan in the instant case chose to allow the release of the undertrial prisoner on bail as per Section 436A CrPC.

"This Court has held that Section 436A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (for short "CRPC") will apply even to a case under the PMLA. But the Court can still deny the relief owing to the ground such as where the trial was delayed at the instance of the accused, " the bench observed.

In this case, even the charges have not been framed and hence it cannot be said that the accused has delayed the trial, which has not even started.

"In the facts of the case, we find that there is no prospect of even the trial commencing, as the charge has not been framed. In these facts, we find that the appellant will be entitled to be enlarged on bail under section 436A of the CRPC on 27th May, 2024," the Court observed.

The Court stated that the bail formalities will be completed before the trial court.

Case : Ajay Ajit Peter Kerkar v. Directorate of Enforcement and another

Citation : 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 400

Click here to read the order


Tags:    

Similar News