The Supreme Court has issued guidelines on the aspect of grant of bail to accused who are not arrested during investigation on charge sheet being filed.
The bench comprising of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh accepted the suggestions made by Additional Solicitor General SV Raja and Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra in this regard. The requisite conditions for this guideline to apply are (1) Not arrested during investigation. (2) Cooperated throughout in the investigation including appearing before Investigating Officer whenever called.
Category (A) Offences
Category (A) Offences are those which punishable with imprisonment of 7 years or less not falling in category B & D. This category deals with both police cases and complaint cases.The following guidelines are issued for this category:
After filing of chargesheet/complaint taking of cognizance:
a) Ordinary summons at the 1st instance/including permitting appearance through Lawyer.
b) If such an accused does not appear despite service of summons, then Bailable Warrant for physical appearance may be issued.
c) NBW on failure to appear despite issuance of Bailable Warrant.
d) NBW may be cancelled or converted into a Bailable Warrant/Summons without insisting physical appearance of accused, if such an application is moved on behalf of the accused before execution of the NBW on an undertaking of the accused to appear physically on the next date/s of hearing.
e) Bail applications of such accused on appearance may be decided w/o the accused being taken in physical custody or by granting interim bail till the bail application is decided.
Category B and D Offences
Category (B) Offences are those which are punishable with death, imprisonment for life, or imprisonment for more than 7 years. Economic offences not covered by Special Acts are Category (D), For these offences, on appearance of the accused in Court pursuant to process issued bail application to be decided on merits.
Category C Offences
In case of Category (C) offences [Offences punishable under Special Acts containing stringent provisions for bail like NDPS (S.37), PMLA (S.45), UAPA (S.43D(5), Companies Act, 212(6), etc.], the same guidelines as Category B & D are applicable with the additional condition of compliance of the provisions of Bail uner NDPS S. 37, 45 PMLA, 212(6) Companies Act 43 d(5) of UAPA, POSCO etc.
The court also agreed with the suggestion that, to consider bail, the trial Court is not precluded from granting interim bail taking into consideration the conduct of the accused during the investigation which has not warranted arrest.
"The caveat which has been put by learned ASG is that where the accused have not cooperated in the investigation nor appeared before the Investigating Officers, nor answered summons when the Court feels that judicial custody of the accused is necessary for the completion of the trial, where further investigation including a possible recovery is needed, the aforesaid approach cannot give them benefit, something we agree with.", the court noted in the order.
A copy of this order be circulated to the Registrars of the different High Courts to be further circulated to the trial Courts so that the unnecessary bail matters do not come up to this Court, the court ordered.
In Siddharth vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, the court had held that Section 170 of the Cr.P.C. that it does not impose an obligation on the Officer-in-charge to arrest each and every accused at the time of filing of the charge sheet. It was observed that the practice of some Trial Courts of insisting on the arrest of an accused as a pre-requisite formality to take the charge-sheet on record is misplaced and contrary to the very intent of Section 170 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Recently in Aman Preet Singh vs. CBI, the court observed that, while accepting charge-sheet, the Magistrate or the Court is required to invariably issue a process of summons and not warrant of arrest. It was also observed that, if an accused in a non-bailable offence has been enlarged and free for many years and has not even been arrested during investigation, it would be contrary to the governing principles for grant of bail to suddenly direct his arrest merely because charge sheet has been filed.
Last week the court had observed that it would be appropriate to formulate some guidelines so that the Courts are better guided and not troubled with the aspect of bail on charge sheet being filed, t
Lawyers For Petitioners: Mr. Sidharth Luthra, Sr. Adv., Mr. Akbar Siddique, AOR
Lawyers For Respondent: Mr. S.V. Raju, Ld. ASG,Mr. Arvind Kumar Sharma, AOR
Case name: Satender Kumar Antil vs. CBI LL 2021 SC 550
Case no. and Date: SLP(Crl) 5191/2021 | 7 October 2021
Coram: Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh