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Filing Supplementary Challan Should Not Be Deferred Merely Because Anticipatory Bail Application Is Pending: Punjab & Haryana High Court

Rashmi Bagri
17 Jan 2022 9:52 AM GMT
Filing Supplementary Challan Should Not Be Deferred Merely Because Anticipatory Bail Application Is Pending: Punjab & Haryana High Court
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The same be done for specific and genuine reasons, the Court added.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has recently held that filing of a supplementary Challan under Section 173 of CrPC cannot be deferred merely because an anticipatory bail application is pending. Such filing should not be deferred for long periods and whenever the same is deferred, specific and genuine reasons must be present for this, it said. Justice Gurvinder Singh Gill, while...

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has recently held that filing of a supplementary Challan under Section 173 of CrPC cannot be deferred merely because an anticipatory bail application is pending.

Such filing should not be deferred for long periods and whenever the same is deferred, specific and genuine reasons must be present for this, it said.

Justice Gurvinder Singh Gill, while taking note of a large number of cases where investigation agency/prosecution choose to not file the supplementary challan against an accused if an application for anticipatory bail is pending, held that the investigating agency/prosecution must thoroughly examine the matter to consider whether a case even requires custodial interrogation in case the anticipatory bail application is dismissed, especially when the accused has joined the investigation and is cooperative at every step.

The observation was made while allowing the anticipatory bail application of the petitioner, were charged with murder under S. 302 (Punishment for murder), S. 201 (Causing disappearance of evidence of offence or giving false information to screen offender) and S.120B (Punishment for criminal conspiracy) of IPC.

While the case of Prosecution was that the petitioner had already given an extra-judicial confession admitting that she, along with her husband and her son poisoned the deceased and threw his body in the canal and petitioner's husband's brother had seen the petitioner and the co-accused near the canal on the day the missing report regarding the deceased was filed.

Advocates Anmol Rattan Sidhu and Pratham Sethi, Counsels for petitioner, submitted that the entire case revolved around circumstantial evidence, based on 'last seen' testimony and the ongoing property dispute between petitioner's husband and his deceased brother and other brother and thus, such weak type of evidence was not sufficient to connect petitioner with the death of deceased.

Further submitting that petitioner was an old lady of 70 years who had a clean record, the counsels argued that the petitioner deserved the concession of bail.

After hearing both sides, the Court concluded that this is a case of circumstantial evidence which is a weak type of evidence unless corroborated by other clinching evidence and giving due regard to the age of the petitioner and to her clean record and the fact that she has already been arrested and has joined investigation, the Judge accepted the petition, granting anticipatory bail to the petitioner, subject to the condition that the petitioner shall cooperate with the investigating officer and shall join investigation as and when called upon to do so and shall also abide by the conditions as per S.438(2) of CrPC.

While parting with this above order, the Court also took cognizance of the fact that the supplementary report against the petitioner had not been filed till date despite petitioner's joining of investigation and because of this, the trial court proceedings against the co-accused came to standstill.

"This Court cannot lose sight of the fact that in case supplementary challan is to be filed against the petitioner and the trial Court by that time already examines some witnesses, the trial Court would have to indulge into repetitive exercise again of recalling the said witnesses for their fresh examination, which would result in adding to agony of other co-accused, who may be behind bars & whose trial would get prolonged."

The Court further noted that there would be several cases "where prosecution is able to complete its investigation upon the accused joining investigation without there being any necessity to subject him/her to custodial interrogation.''

And thus, the Court recommended that before deferring the filing of supplementary challan under S. 173, CrPC, the investigation agency/prosecution must thoroughly consider whether custodial interrogation is absolutely necessary in case anticipatory bail is dismissed and the investigating agency must only defer filing of supplementary challan under S.173 CrPC for specific and genuine reasons, not merely on the fact that an anticipatory bail is pending.

To further elaborate, the Court gave an example of a case where modus operandi of crime is not completely known and Investigation Officer maintains the opinion that custodial interrogation is absolutely necessary to unravel details of the crime, that case the investigating officer can defer the filing of supplementary challan under S.173 of CrPC.

The Court, thus directed, DGP Punjab, DGP Haryana and DGP UT Chandigarh to consider issuing directions in further cases, keeping in mind the recommendations of the Court in this case.

Case Title: Sukhwinder Kaur @ Rajvir Kaur v. State of Punjab

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (PH) 4

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