Chandigarh, May 18, 2022: Based on the Supreme Court’s decision in Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar wherein all the State Governments were directed to instruct their police officers not to arrest the accused automatically when the offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may be less than seven years or which may extend to seven years, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the petitioner (a proclamation offender) to appear before the Court concerned and such Court has been directed to release the petitioner on the same day subject to fulfillment of some conditions.
Challenging the order of proclamation on being declared a proclaimed offender, the petitioner came up before the Bench of Justice Anoop Chitkara under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC).
Here, in this case, the accused could not be served through the ordinary process, including summons, bailable warrants, and even non-bailable warrants and therefore the concerned court finally proceeded against the petitioner under Section 82 of Cr.P.C. and declared the petitioner a proclaimed offender vide order dated August 28, 2015, passed by the SDJM, Baghapurana, Punjab.
The counsel for the petitioner sought quashing on the merits.
The Court, however, found the explanation given to be not at all satisfactory and the Court called for further clarification while making a remark to the effect that the criminal justice system must not “hamper and suffer” because of the petitioner.
Thus, the court was not inclined to grant the following relief, reserving liberty to raise the remaining prayers, including quashing of the FIR registered on the proclamation and also for the quashing of FIR registered on the complaint, either on merits or on compromise, if such need arose.
Further, the Court added that the primary object of service is to secure the accused’s presence in the trial and that the petitioner approached the court on its own, which established the bonafide at this stage.
Without adjudicating the explanation offered and stand taken by the petitioner, the court, in the exercise of its inherent powers under section 482 Cr.P.C., deemed it appropriate to grant the following limited relief to the petitioner, subject to the compliance of the conditions mentioned in this order.
Additionally, the Court also opined that in the present case, the maximum sentence imposable for the offences mentioned in FIR did not exceed seven years and thus, directions passed in Arnesh Kumar (Supra) would apply to this petition.
Thus, the Court directed the petitioner to surrender before the concerned court on or before July 30, 2022, and on appearance, the concerned court was directed to release the petitioner on bail on the same day, subject to furnishing bail bonds to its satisfaction and imposing additional conditions, as it may deem appropriate in the background of the accused person’s conduct.
The petitioner was also directed to execute a bond for attendance in the concerned court. On the reverse page of personal bonds, the petitioner was directed to mention the permanent address, along with the phone number linked with the AADHAR card, the other phone numbers (if any), and e-mail (if any). And in case of any change in the above particulars, the petitioner was directed immediately and not later than 30 days from such modification, to intimate about the change to the concerned Police Station and the concerned Court.
Also, by July 30, 2022, the petitioner was directed to deposit a sum of rupees ten thousand in ‘High Court Lawyers Welfare Fund,’
Thus, without commenting on the case’s merits, in the facts and circumstances peculiar to this case, and also for the reasons mentioned above, the Court opined that the ends of justice would meet with the above order.