The Bombay High Court has quashed and set aside an order of a metropolitan magistrate rejecting the bail application of a man arrested from the Mumbai international airport pursuant to a red corner notice issued against him, terming it illegal.
Justice AM Badar heard the criminal writ petition filed by Navinchandra Gangadhar Hegde, who was accused of offences under sections 419 (cheating by impersonation), 170 (personating a public servant), 183 (resistance to taking of property by lawful authority of a public servant), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions) and 120 B (punishment of criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
Hegde came to be arrested in the said case on July 26, 2016. He was produced before the metropolitan magistrate, who rejected his application for bail.
Thereafter, an application under Section 439 of the CrPC was filed before the sessions court and in an order dated September 8, 2016, Hegde’s application for bail was allowed with a surety of Rs. 50,000.
Then, Hegde was arrested from the international airport on August 19, 2017, as he was travelling abroad.
Once the accused was produced before the metropolitan magistrate on the same day, the additional public prosecutor opposed his bail stating that he was arrested pursuant to a red corner notice issued against him.
The magistrate then rejected the bail application on August 19 on the grounds that Hegde was attempting to travel abroad without prior permission from the metropolitan magistrate.
Senior Advocate Shirish Gupte appeared for the accused and argued that once a superior court had granted bail to the accused without imposing any restrictions on his travel abroad, he could not have been arrested for a red corner notice issued during the course of investigation.
Referring to the order of the Court of Sessions granting bail to the accused, Justice Badar noted that no conditions restricting accused from travelling abroad had been imposed, neither the order was challenged or sought to be modified by the state.
Justice Badar said: “The Red Corner look out notice is not pertaining to some other crime but it is in respect of the very same crime bearing no.177 of 2016. Once the petitioner is arrested in the said crime, red corner notice issued at some prior stage cannot be made use to re-arrest the petitioner, despite the judicial order directing his released on bail. The police, in fact, committed breach of order releasing the petitioner on bail by re-arresting him on the pretext of the alleged Red Corner Notice issued during investigation.
Further illegality seems to have been committed by the learned Metropolitan Magistrate while passing the order dated 19th August 2017 rejecting bail application filed by the petitioner after his rearrest in pursuant to so-called Red Corner Notice by the police. The learned Metropolitan Magistrate committed error of law in holding that the petitioner ought to have sought permission of the Metropolitan Magistrate prior to travelling abroad.”
Thus, the court ordered the accused to be released on bail.