Read Order: Simarjeet Singh Bains v. State of Punjab and another

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh,June 16, 2022: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that the factum of mentioning that any new evidence coming on record would entail further action as per law, does not in any manner suggest incompleteness of the charge-sheet. 

Further, the Bench of Justice Lisa Gill noted ,”The same is only indicative of means to keep a channel open for further investigation in the event of any need or subsequent evidence coming to the fore. Needless to say, the same can be undertaken in accordance with provisions of law and after seeking permission from the Court.”

The Court was dealing with a bunch of petitions which were clubbed together for hearing and decision as the same were intrinsically interlinked with each other arising out of the same FIR filed under Sections 376, 354, 354A, 506, 120B IPC.

Essentially, in this case, the FIR was registered alleging  that Simarjeet Singh Bains (the first Accused), a Member of the Legislative Assembly in the State of Punjab and the President of one political party, namely the Lok Insaaf Party, committed multiple acts of rape upon on the complainant.

Sukhchain Singh (the fifth Accused) helped the complainant to purchase a house in January 2018 for which a loan was also secured from Vijaya Bank through the said accused. A Sale-deed was executed after the loan was approved. It was alleged that the fifth Accused misappropriated a certain sum as expenses for securing the loan. 

Due to the death of the complainant’s husband, she was unable to pay her loan and resultantly, the Bank was threatened to dispossess the complainant. As a result, the complainant approached the first Accused for help. In the meanwhile, the fifth Accused offered to pay Rs. 4,50,000/- and one plot of 60 square yards in Jassowal as he did not have ready money. The complainant was hesitant to accept the offer, however, on the assurance given by the first Accused, she agreed. 

Consequently, the fifth Accused took possession of the property from the complainant in the and procured one house on rent for her and the power of attorney was taken from the complainant in his favour. Thereafter a sum of Rs. 4,40,000/- was paid by him. The complainant asked him to sell the plot at Jassowal and release the payment to her, but the same was not done. 

After the lockdown, the financial condition of the complainant deteriorated and for help she approached the first Accused who allegedly  raped her despite her resistance and also asked her to submit to his wish in order to get help with this matter. The complainant narrated the manner and situation in which she was exploited by the  accused persons to her disadvantage. 

A complaint disclosing the above-stated facts was made to the Chief Minister of Punjab, after which the complainant received  threatening calls. 

The Complainant’s application was first disposed of by JMIC, Ludhiana directing it to be treated as a complaint. However, a revision petition challenging the said order was  accepted by the Additional Sessions Judge, Ludhiana and the matter was remanded to decide it afresh, in accordance with law.

As a result, the Trial Court directed the Station House Officer (SHO) to register a criminal case without any further delay while observing that keeping in view the nature of allegations, the complainant herself may not be in a position to produce and collect evidence before the court. Accordingly, FIR under Sections 376, 354, 354A, 506, 120B IPC was registered.

The charge-sheet was presented and it was stated therein that the arrest of the first Accused, who was the President of a political party and other accused persons, who were active members thereof, could disturb law and order keeping in view the rage of his supporters, therefore, accused in the present case be summoned in court.

Resultantly, bailable warrants were issued against the accused but the same were returned unserved, leading the Trial Court to issue non-bailable warrants executable through Commissioner of Police, while taking note  of the inability/unwillingness of the police authorities to even arrest the accused as mentioned in the Challan itself. 

Due to return on the warrants so issued, the Court again issued non-bailable warrants against the accused. In the meanwhile, the Court was informed by the Police that the DIG, Faridkot Range constituted a Special Investigation Team to conduct further investigation. The Trial Court stayed any further investigation while observing that no further investigation can be carried out without permission of the court after filing of the Challan.

In the meanwhile the first Accused approached the Supreme Court and his arrest was stayed owing to elections in Punjab. Also, the first Accused filed an application under Section 70(2)Cr.P.C. for cancellation of non-bailable warrants before the Illaqa Magistrate on the ground that the process was wrongly issued on the basis of incomplete Challan, not based on the conclusion report of SIT with investigation being vitiated by bias and unfairness, conducted without associating the accused.

This application was dismissed and at the same time, the Magistrate recorded its satisfaction that the first Accused was openly conducting public meetings with other accused being his supporters, still evasive reports were being sent about their non-availability, thus the accused were clearly avoiding service of process of court, therefore, proclamation was ordered. Further, gresh proclamation was issued and ultimately all the accused-petitioners were declared proclaimed offenders. 

The first Accused filed pre-arrest bail application, and the Additional Sessions Judge, Ludhiana disposed of the same while observing that the question of grant of bail was pending before the High Court as well as the Supreme Court, therefore, said application was not maintainable.

The Court noted at the very outset that in the FIR grave and serious allegations were levelled in the FIR against the said petitioner and other accused-petitioners. The Court also noted that the complainant described in detail the repeated exploitation which she had to face at the hands of the accused persons. 

Next addressing the argument of the petitioner to the effect that incomplete charge-sheet was accepted by the Trial Court, the Court observed that a perusal of the said Challan did not in any manner, indicate that the same was incomplete or that the investigating agency was not sure of its case against the accused. 

The factum of mentioning that any new evidence coming on record would entail further action as per law, does not in any manner suggest incompleteness of the Challan”, held the Court while also observing that the same is only indicative of means to keep a channel open for further investigation in the event of any need or subsequent evidence coming to the fore. 

Further investigation, the Court added, can be undertaken in accordance with provisions of law and after seeking permission from the Court.

Also, on the conduct of the Police Officials, the Court expressed its surprise while holding that it is a matter of surprise that the police authorities felt powerless and ineffective in front of the ‘rage’ of the supporters of the first accused and so fearful of the law and order situation which they perceived would be created in the wake of said petitioner’s arrest, that the Challan was presented with a request to summon the accused in Court. 

Thus, the Court observed the aforesaid was indeed a reflection on the clout which the said accused-petitioner was able to wield on the police authorities, which was further reflected from the fact that even the non-bailable warrants directed to be served through Commissioner of Police remained unexecuted.

“In the given facts and circumstances, accused-petitioners do not deserve any indulgence from the court as it is apparent that they seem to entertain a notion that law is to be flouted at their whims and fancies and is subservient to their cause”, held the Court. 

Further, addressing the challenge against the order of the Trial Court, the Court observed that in the present case at each and every step, the Magistrate recorded the required satisfaction i.e., at the time of issuance of bailable warrants, non-bailable warrants as well as proclamation under Section 82 Cr.P.C.and rather, all the petitioners avoided the process of law with impunity. 

It is apparent that petitioners were aware of the presentation of the Challan and issuance owarrants…”

Further, the Court observed that it is a settled position of law that relief of anticipatory bail cannot be afforded to a person, who has been declared to be an absconder. 

Also, the Court observed that the counsel for the petitioners were unable to point out any illegality or infirmity in the impugned order as also order of even date declining anticipatory bail to petitioner-Simarjeet Singh Bains which was correctly passed. 

Accordingly, while dismissing petitions, the Court directed that in case petitioners appear before the Magistrate/trial court within one week of receipt of certified copy of the order, their applications for bail pending trial, if any, be decided expeditiously and definitely within one week thereof.

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