Read Order: Vipul v. State of Punjab 

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, April 30, 2022: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has recently held that the case for bail has to be considered on its own merits and even though the antecedents of an accused may be one of the relevant considerations while adjudicating a petition on merits for grant of bail, however, a mere involvement of the petitioner in other cases cannot be the sole basis to keep him confined in perpetuity.

The Bench of Justice Vinod S. Bhardwaj opined, “The power to adjudicate upon the liberties of an individual, while considering their claim of bail, cannot be deployed as a means of inflicting sentence on an accused.”

It was further expounded that the role attributed to the person and the evidence collected during the investigation by the Investigating Agency would invariably remain a prime consideration with the Court while considering the application of bail along with stage of the prosecution case and the period of custody.

The Court was dealing with a petition under Section 439 Cr.P.C. by the petitioner for seeking concession of regular bail in a case emanating from an FIR registered against the petitioner under Sections 342, 395, 397, 307, 34 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 25, 25(1) (a) of the Arms Act, 1959. 

The allegations in the FIR were that two boys with muffled faces snatched a sum of Rs. 4.-4.5 lakhs from the complainant at gunpoint. These two accused fled away on a motorcycle with the aid of the third accused. 

The case of the petitioner’s Counsel is that the petitioner was not originally named in the FIR and nothing could be attributed to him. It was further his case that the petitioner was implicated in the present FIR owing to the disclosure statement made by one of his co-accused. The Counsel also submitted that pursuant to the arrest of the petitioner, recovery of Rs. 5,000/- was allegedly affected. He submitted that the investigation in the case was complete and that his custodial interrogation was not warranted. It was further argued that the petitioner was in custody for nearly 07 months and that the trial was yet to commence. 

On the contrary, the State Counsel argued that the petitioner had criminal antecedents and that he was involved in two other FIRs under Section 379-B and 34 IPC and Section 25 of the Arms Act and under Sections 354-A and 354-D and 506 of the IPC and Section 67 of the Information Technology Act. 

The Counsel could not however point out whether the petitioner was on bail in the said offences.

The Court observed at the very outset that the involvement of the petitioner was only on the basis of a disclosure made by the co-accused. Thus, in view of the above factual situation, the Court opined that the case for bail has to be considered on its own merits and that even though the antecedents of an accused may be one of the relevant considerations while adjudicating a petition on merits for grant of bail, however, a mere involvement of the petitioner in other cases cannot be the sole basis to keep him confined in perpetuity. 

Justice Bhardwaj further expounded that the power to adjudicate upon the liberties of an individual, while considering their claim of bail, cannot be deployed as a means of inflicting a sentence on an accused and that the role attributed to the person and the evidence collected during the investigation by the Investigating Agency would invariably remain a prime consideration with the Court while considering the application of bail along with the stage of the prosecution case and the period of custody. 

Thus, taking into consideration, the role of the petitioner in the present case, the alleged recovery of the petitioner and the stage of the investigation as also the period of actual custodial detention already undergone, the Court deemed it appropriate to enlarge the petitioner on bail to the satisfaction of the Trial Court. 

Accordingly, the petition was allowed. 

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