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SC-ST (Prevention Of Atrocities) Act Does Not Restrict The Practice Of Accused Surrendering & Getting Interim Bail U/s 439 CrPC: Himachal Pradesh HC [Read Judgment]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
18 Sep 2020 8:59 AM GMT
SC-ST (Prevention Of Atrocities) Act Does Not Restrict The Practice Of Accused Surrendering & Getting Interim Bail U/s 439 CrPC: Himachal Pradesh HC [Read Judgment]
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The Himachal Pradesh High Court has held that an accused under Scheduled Caste & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, resorting to Section 439 of Code of Criminal Procedure and surrendering before Sessions Court or High Court and simultaneously obtaining ad-interim bail does not amount to bypassing the restrictions placed in Section 18 and 18-A of the Act.

Justice Anoop Chitkara observed that under S. 439 CrPC, any person accused of a non-bailable offence, under any penal law, including the violations under the Scheduled Caste & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, can apply under section 439 CrPC, offering to surrender and simultaneously seeking interim bail.

"The interim bail is neither in contradiction to the judicial precedents nor obstructs Justice's path. Thus, resorting to S. 439 CrPC and surrendering before Sessions Court or High Court and simultaneously obtaining ad-interim bail does not amount to bypassing the restrictions placed in S. 18 and 18-A of SCSTPOA. This practice of the accused surrendering and getting interim bail cannot be said to override the legislative intention of restraining the anticipatory bail to the violators of the SCSTPOA.", the court observed.

The Court was considering application under section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure  seeking permission to surrender before it, and simultaneously seeking release on ad-interim bail. The issue was whether such an application is barred under Scheduled Caste & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The judge observed that, in the absence of any riders or restrictions under S. 439 CrPC, any person accused of a non-bailable offence, under any penal law, including the violations under the Scheduled Caste & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, can apply under section 439 CrPC, offering to surrender and simultaneously seeking interim bail. While disposing the petitions, the court further said:

"On receipt of such application, the Court is to satisfy that the applicant stands arraigned as an accused in a FIR disclosing Non-Bailable offences. If all these parameters are complete, then the Courts are under an obligation to accept surrender. Since custody is a sine qua non for considering a bail application, the Court is under an obligation to consider the prayer for interim bail after this deemed custody. All such pleas fall under the scope of S. 439 CrPC itself, and there is no need to invoke S. 482 CrPC. After that, granting or refusing interim bail is a Judicial function.", the court observed.
"The offences committed against the persons extend to their family members, stigmatize them, affect their dignity, demotivate them, and make them unequal. To eliminate casteism, we need social re-engineering by developing herd immunity, ensuring that perpetrators of casteism run out of hosts. Thus, the prudent condition while granting interim bail in SCSTPOA is an assurance from the accused of not terrorizing the victim, with a rider that interim bail's order shall ipso facto vacate if the accused attempts to browbeat the victim or repeats any such act. Subject to the seriousness of allegations, the accused may also be directed to stay away from the victim's residence and workplace. 66. The Court must decide the prayer for interim bail on that day itself when it takes the accused in its custody. Such interim bail can extend till the bail application's final disposal, on the police file's production, or the status report. However, powers to grant interim bail should be exercised in a judicial and not in an arbitrary manner, and if given, then for the purpose of interim bail, personal bonds alone would suffice. If the allegations are serious, keeping in view the object of the SCSTPOA and the purpose for which this stringent provision in SCSTPOA was enacted, then indeed, such interim protection either be rejected or, if granted, can always be withdrawn on the next hearings"
Case name: Ami Chand vs. State of Himachal Pradesh 
Case no.: Cr.M.P(M) No. 1116 of 2020 
Coram: Justice Anoop Chitkara



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