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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sections 302 and 120B read with Section 34 of IPC. -Anticipatory Bail - an absconder/proclaimed offender is not entitled for anticipatory bail - high court with out considering these facts granted anticipatory bail - set aside - appeal was allowed = State of Madhya Pradesh .... Appellant(s) Versus Pradeep Sharma .... Respondent(s) = published in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=41048

 Sections  302
and  120B  read  with  Section  34  of  IPC. -Anticipatory Bail - an absconder/proclaimed offender is not entitled for anticipatory bail - high court with out considering these facts granted anticipatory bail - set aside - appeal was allowed =

 in Lavesh vs. State (NCT of Delhi), (2012) 8 SCC  730,  this
Court, (of which both of us were parties) considered the scope  of  granting
relief under Section 438 vis-à-vis to  a  person  who  was  declared  as  an
absconder or proclaimed offender in terms of Section 82  of  the  Code.   In
para 12, this Court held as under:

      “12. From these materials  and  information,  it  is  clear  that  the
      present  appellant   was   not   available   for   interrogation   and
      investigation and was declared  as  “absconder”.  Normally,  when  the
      accused is “absconding” and declared as a “proclaimed offender”, there
      is no question of granting anticipatory bail. We reiterate that when a
      person against whom a warrant had been issued  and  is  absconding  or
      concealing himself in order to avoid execution of warrant and declared
      as a proclaimed offender in terms of Section 82 of the Code he is  not
      entitled to the relief of anticipatory bail.”

  It is clear from the above  decision  that  if  anyone  is  declared  as  an absconder/proclaimed offender in terms of Section 82 of the Code, he is  not entitled to the relief of  anticipatory  bail.   
In  the  case  on  hand,  a
perusal of the materials i.e., confessional  statements  of  Sanjay  Namdev,
Pawan  Kumar  @  Ravi  and  Vijay  @  Monu  Brahambhatt  reveals  that   the
respondents administered poisonous substance to the deceased. 
 Further,  the
statements of witnesses that were recorded and the report of the  Department
of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology Government  Medical  College  &  Hospital,
Nagpur dated 21.03.2012 have confirmed  the  existence  of  poison  in  milk
rabri. 
Further, it is brought to our notice that  warrants  were  issued  on
21.11.2012 for the arrest of the respondents herein.  Since  they  were  not
available/traceable, a proclamation under Section 82 of the Code was  issued
on 29.11.2012.  The documents (Annexure-P13) produced by the  State  clearly
show that the CJM, Chhindwara, M.P.  issued  a  proclamation  requiring  the
appearance of both the respondents/accused under Section 82 of the  Code  to
answer the complaint  on  29.12.2012.   All  these  materials  were  neither
adverted to nor considered by the High  Court  while  granting  anticipatory
bail and the High  Court,  without  indicating  any  reason  except  stating
“facts and circumstances of the case”,  granted  an  order  of  anticipatory
bail to both the accused.  It  is  relevant  to  point  out  that  both  the
accused are facing prosecution for offences punishable  under  Sections  302
and  120B  read  with  Section  34  of  IPC.   In  such  serious   offences,
particularly, the respondents/accused being  proclaimed  offenders,  we  are
unable to sustain the impugned orders of granting  anticipatory  bail.   The
High Court failed to appreciate that it is a settled position  of  law  that
where the accused has been declared as an absconder and has  not  cooperated
with the investigation, he should not be granted anticipatory bail.
13)   In the light of what is stated above, the impugned orders of the  High
Court dated 10.01.2013 and 17.01.2013 in Misc. Criminal Case  Nos.  9996  of
2012 and 15283 of  2012  respectively  are  set  aside.   Consequently,  the
subsequent order of the CJM dated 20.02.2013  in  Crime  No.  1034  of  2011
releasing the accused on bail after taking them into custody  in  compliance
with the impugned order of the High Court is also set aside.
14)   In view of the same, both  the  respondents/accused  are  directed  to
surrender before the court concerned within a period of  two  weeks  failing
which the trial Court is directed to take them into custody  and  send  them
to jail.
15)   Both the appeals are allowed on the above terms.
              

 REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                 1 CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.   2049        OF 2013

               (Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 4102 of 2013)

State of Madhya Pradesh                               .... Appellant(s)

            Versus

Pradeep Sharma                                             ....
Respondent(s)

                             WITH


                2 CRIMINAL APPEAL No.   2050         OF 2013

               (Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 4406 of 2013)

                               J U D G M E N T


P.Sathasivam, CJI.

1)    Leave granted.
2)    These appeals are  filed  against  the  orders  dated  10.01.2013  and
17.01.2013 passed by the High Court of  Madhya  Pradesh  Principal  Seat  at
Jabalpur in Misc. Criminal  Case  Nos.  9996  of  2012  and  15283  of  2012
respectively whereby  the  High  Court  granted  anticipatory  bail  to  the
respondents herein.

3)    Brief facts:
a)    The  case  of  the  prosecution  is  that  Rajesh  Singh  Thakur  (the
deceased),  resident  of  village   Gopalpur,   Tehsil   Chaurai,   District
Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh and Pradeep Sharma (respondent herein),  resident
of the same village, were having  enmity  with  each  other  on  account  of
election to the post of Sarpanch.
b)    On 10.09.2011, Pradeep Sharma (respondent herein),  in  order  to  get
rid of Rajesh Singh  Thakur  (the  deceased),  conspired  along  with  other
accused persons and managed to call him to the Pawar Tea  House,  Chhindwara
on the pretext of setting up of a tower in a field where  they  offered  him
poisoned milk rabri (sweet dish).
c)    After consuming the same, when he left the place to meet  his  sister,
his  condition  started  getting  deteriorated  because  of   vomiting   and
diarrhea.  Immediately, the father of the deceased took him to the  District
Hospital, Chhindwara wherefrom he was referred to the  Government  Hospital,
Chhindwara.
d)    Since there was no improvement in his  condition,  on  11.09.2011,  he
was shifted to the Care Hospital, Nagpur where  he  took  his  last  breath.
The hospital certified the cause of death to  be  poisoning.   On  the  very
same day, after sending the information to the  Police  Station,  Sitabardi,
Nagpur, the body was sent for the post mortem.
e)     Inder  Singh  Thakur-father  of  the  deceased  submitted  a  written
complaint  to  the  Police  Station  Kotwali,   Chhindwara   on   13.09.2011
suspecting the role of  the  respondents  herein.   After  investigation,  a
First Information Report (in short ‘the  FIR’)  being  No.  1034/2011  dated
18.10.2011 was registered under Sections 302 read  with  34  of  the  Indian
Penal Code, 1860 (in short ‘the IPC’).
f)     On  01.08.2012,  Pradeep  Sharma   (respondent   herein)   moved   an
application for anticipatory bail by filing Misc. Criminal Case No. 7093  of
2012 before the High Court which got rejected vide  order  dated  01.08.2012
on the ground that custodial interrogation is necessary in the case.
g)    On 26.08.2012, a  charge  sheet  was  filed  in  the  court  of  Chief
Judicial Magistrate, Chhindwara against Sanjay Namdev,  Rahul  Borkar,  Ravi
Paradkar and Vijay @ Monu Brahambhatt whereas the investigation  in  respect
of  Pradeep  Sharma,  Sudhir  Sharma  and   Gudda   @   Naresh   Raghuvanshi
(respondents herein), absconding accused, continued since the very  date  of
the incident.
h)    On 21.11.2012, arrest warrants were  issued  against  Pradeep  Sharma,
Sudhir Sharma and Gudda @ Naresh Raghuvanshi but the same were  returned  to
the Court without service.  Since the accused persons  were  not  traceable,
on 29.11.2012, a proclamation under Section  82  of  the  Code  of  Criminal
Procedure, 1973 (in short ‘the Code’) was  issued  against  them  for  their
appearance to answer the complaint.
i)    Instead of  appealing  the  order  dated  01.08.2012,  Pradeep  Sharma
(respondent herein) filed another application for  anticipatory  bail  being
Misc. Criminal Case No. 9996 of 2012  before  the  High  Court.  Vide  order
dated 10.01.2013, the  High  Court  granted  anticipatory  bail  to  Pradeep
Sharma (respondent  herein).   Similarly,  another  accused-Gudda  @  Naresh
Raghuvanshi was granted anticipatory bail  by  the  High  Court  vide  order
dated 17.01.2013 in Misc. Criminal Case No. 15283 of 2012.
j)    Being aggrieved by the orders dated 10.01.2013 and  17.01.2013,  State
of Madhya Pradesh has filed the above appeals before this Court.
k)    In the meantime, the respondents herein approached the Court of  Chief
Judicial Magistrate, Chhindwara for the grant of regular bail.   Vide  order
dated 20.02.2013, the accused persons were enlarged on bail.
4)    Heard  Ms.  Vibha  Datta  Makhija,  learned  senior  counsel  for  the
appellant-State and Mr. Niraj Sharma, learned counsel for the respondents.
5)    The only question for consideration in these appeals  is  whether  the
High Court is justified in granting anticipatory bail under Section  438  of
the Code to the  respondents/accused  when  the  investigation  is  pending,
particularly, when both the accused had been absconding all  along  and  not
cooperating with the investigation.
6)    Ms. Vibha Datta Makhija, learned senior  counsel  for  the  appellant-
State, by drawing our attention to the  charge  sheet,  submitted  that  the
charges filed against the respondents/accused relate to Sections  302,  120B
and 34 of the IPC which are all serious offences and also of the  fact  that
both of them being absconders from the very date of the incident,  the  High
Court is not justified  in  granting  anticipatory  bail  that  too  without
proper analysis and discussion.
7)    On  the  other  hand,  Mr.  Niraj  Sharma,  learned  counsel  for  the
respondents in both the appeals supported  the  order  passed  by  the  High
Court and prayed for dismissal of the appeals filed by the State.
8)    We have carefully perused the relevant materials  and  considered  the
rival contentions.
9)    In order to answer the  above  question,  it  is  desirable  to  refer
Section 438 of the Code which reads as under:-
      “438. Direction for grant of bail to person  apprehending  arrest.—(1)
      Where any person has reason to believe that  he  may  be  arrested  on
      accusation of having committed a non-bailable offence, he may apply to
      the High Court or the Court of Session  for  a  direction  under  this
      section that in the event of such arrest he shall be released on bail;
      and that Court may, after taking into consideration, inter  alia,  the
      following factors, namely—
        (i) the nature and gravity of the accusation;
        (ii) the antecedents of the applicant  including  the  fact  as  to
      whether he has previously undergone imprisonment on  conviction  by  a
      Court in respect of any cognizable offence;
        (iii) the possibility of the applicant to flee from justice; and
        (iv) where the accusation has been made with the object of injuring
      or humiliating the applicant by having him so arrested,
      either reject the application forthwith or issue an interim order  for
      the grant of anticipatory bail:


      Provided that, where the High Court or, as the case may be, the  Court
      of Session, has not passed any interim order under this sub-section or
      has rejected the application for grant of anticipatory bail, it  shall
      be open to an officer in charge of a police station to arrest, without
      warrant the applicant on the basis of the  accusation  apprehended  in
      such application.


      Xxx xxx xxx”

10)   The above provision makes it clear that the  power  exercisable  under
Section 438 of the Code is somewhat extraordinary in character and it is  to
be exercised only in exceptional cases where it appears that the person  may
be falsely implicated or where there  are  reasonable  grounds  for  holding
that a person accused of an offence is not likely to  otherwise  misuse  his
liberty.
11)   In Adri Dharan Das vs. State of W.B., (2005) 4  SCC  303,  this  Court
considered the scope of Section 438 of the Code as under:-

      “16. Section 438 is a procedural provision which is concerned with the
      personal liberty of an individual who is entitled to plead  innocence,
      since he is not on the date of application for exercise of power under
      Section 438 of the Code convicted for the offence in respect of  which
      he seeks bail. The applicant must show that he has “reason to believe”
      that he may  be  arrested  in  a  non-bailable  offence.  Use  of  the
      expression  “reason  to  believe”  shows  that  the  belief  that  the
      applicant may be arrested must be founded on reasonable grounds.  Mere
      “fear” is not “belief” for which reason  it  is  not  enough  for  the
      applicant to show that he has some sort  of  vague  apprehension  that
      someone is going to make an accusation against  him  in  pursuance  of
      which he may be arrested. Grounds on which the belief of the applicant
      is based that he may be  arrested  in  non-bailable  offence  must  be
      capable of being examined. If an application is made to the High Court
      or the Court of Session, it is  for  the  court  concerned  to  decide
      whether a case has been made out for granting of  the  relief  sought.
      The provisions cannot be  invoked  after  arrest  of  the  accused.  A
      blanket order should not be generally passed. It flows from  the  very
      language of the section which requires the applicant to show  that  he
      has reason to believe that he may be arrested. A belief can be said to
      be founded on reasonable grounds only if there is  something  tangible
      to go by on the basis of which it can be  said  that  the  applicant’s
      apprehension that he may be arrested is genuine. Normally a  direction
      should not issue to the effect that the applicant shall be released on
      bail  “whenever  arrested  for  whichever  offence  whatsoever”.  Such
      “blanket order” should not be passed as it would serve as a blanket to
      cover or protect any and every kind of allegedly unlawful activity. An
      order under Section  438  is  a  device  to  secure  the  individual’s
      liberty, it is neither a passport to the commission of  crimes  nor  a
      shield against any and all kinds of accusations likely or unlikely. On
      the facts of the case, considered  in  the  background  of  the  legal
      position set out above, this does not prima facie appear to be a  case
      where any order in terms of Section 438 of the Code can be passed.”


12)   Recently, in Lavesh vs. State (NCT of Delhi), (2012) 8 SCC  730,  this
Court, (of which both of us were parties) considered the scope  of  granting
relief under Section 438 vis-à-vis to  a  person  who  was  declared  as  an
absconder or proclaimed offender in terms of Section 82  of  the  Code.   In
para 12, this Court held as under:

      “12. From these materials  and  information,  it  is  clear  that  the
      present  appellant   was   not   available   for   interrogation   and
      investigation and was declared  as  “absconder”.  Normally,  when  the
      accused is “absconding” and declared as a “proclaimed offender”, there
      is no question of granting anticipatory bail. We reiterate that when a
      person against whom a warrant had been issued  and  is  absconding  or
      concealing himself in order to avoid execution of warrant and declared
      as a proclaimed offender in terms of Section 82 of the Code he is  not
      entitled to the relief of anticipatory bail.”


It is clear from the above  decision  that  if  anyone  is  declared  as  an absconder/proclaimed offender in terms of Section 82 of the Code, he is  not entitled to the relief of  anticipatory  bail.   
In  the  case  on  hand,  a
perusal of the materials i.e., confessional  statements  of  Sanjay  Namdev,
Pawan  Kumar  @  Ravi  and  Vijay  @  Monu  Brahambhatt  reveals  that   the
respondents administered poisonous substance to the deceased. 
 Further,  the
statements of witnesses that were recorded and the report of the  Department
of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology Government  Medical  College  &  Hospital,
Nagpur dated 21.03.2012 have confirmed  the  existence  of  poison  in  milk
rabri. 
Further, it is brought to our notice that  warrants  were  issued  on
21.11.2012 for the arrest of the respondents herein.  Since  they  were  not
available/traceable, a proclamation under Section 82 of the Code was  issued
on 29.11.2012.  The documents (Annexure-P13) produced by the  State  clearly
show that the CJM, Chhindwara, M.P.  issued  a  proclamation  requiring  the
appearance of both the respondents/accused under Section 82 of the  Code  to
answer the complaint  on  29.12.2012.   All  these  materials  were  neither
adverted to nor considered by the High  Court  while  granting  anticipatory
bail and the High  Court,  without  indicating  any  reason  except  stating
“facts and circumstances of the case”,  granted  an  order  of  anticipatory
bail to both the accused.  It  is  relevant  to  point  out  that  both  the
accused are facing prosecution for offences punishable  under  Sections  302
and  120B  read  with  Section  34  of  IPC.   In  such  serious   offences,
particularly, the respondents/accused being  proclaimed  offenders,  we  are
unable to sustain the impugned orders of granting  anticipatory  bail.   The
High Court failed to appreciate that it is a settled position  of  law  that
where the accused has been declared as an absconder and has  not  cooperated
with the investigation, he should not be granted anticipatory bail.
13)   In the light of what is stated above, the impugned orders of the  High
Court dated 10.01.2013 and 17.01.2013 in Misc. Criminal Case  Nos.  9996  of
2012 and 15283 of  2012  respectively  are  set  aside.   Consequently,  the
subsequent order of the CJM dated 20.02.2013  in  Crime  No.  1034  of  2011
releasing the accused on bail after taking them into custody  in  compliance
with the impugned order of the High Court is also set aside.
14)   In view of the same, both  the  respondents/accused  are  directed  to
surrender before the court concerned within a period of  two  weeks  failing
which the trial Court is directed to take them into custody  and  send  them
to jail.
15)   Both the appeals are allowed on the above terms.


                                                         ………….…………………………CJI.

                                   (P. SATHASIVAM)












                                .………….……………………………J.


                                   (RANJAN GOGOI)
NEW DELHI;
DECEMBER 6, 2013.

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