Read Order: Puran Chand Sharma v. State of Haryana

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, March 23, 2022: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has proposed departmental action against the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Yamuna Nagar for blatant violation of the order passed by the High Court. The High Court had directed the Magistrate to release the bail amount so deposited by the accused but the CJM declined to do so, thus inviting the wrath of the High Court. 

Expressing its displeasure with the judicial indiscipline shown by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Yamuna Nagar, Justice Manoj Bajaj held, “Thus, in view of the above discussion this Court has no hesitation in holding that Chief Judicial Magistrate, Yamuna Nagar has passed the impugned order by giving irrational reasons, which not only show his dearth of understanding criminal jurisprudence & fundamental principles of law, but also reflect judicial indiscipline on his part, which amounts to grave misconduct and warrants departmental action against him.”

The petitioner, apprehending arrest in an FIR registered under Sections 148, 149, 323, 427, 447, 452, 506 and 380 of the IPC,  approached the High Court under Section 438 Cr.P.C. to seek pre-arrest bail, wherein the Court extended him interim concession. The Court directed the petitioner to deposit a sum of Rs.1,10,000  which, as per the Additional Advocate General Haryana was stolen but was not mentioned in the FIR. The said amount was deposited and the interim bail order was finally confirmed. 

The trial in the subject FIR ended in the acquittal of all the accused including the petitioner, therefore, he moved an application for issuance of directions to Chief Judicial Magistrate, Yamuna Nagar for release of the amount of Rs.1,10,000 , and the same was accepted as the State counsel did not oppose the petitioner’s claim. However, despite the direction passed by the High Court, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Yamuna Nagar proceeded to decline the prayer through impugned order and dismissed his application for release of the amount. Hence, the present petition under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. was filed seeking quashing of the impugned order. 

The petitioner’s counsel submitted that once the trial of the case is over, the condition imposed at the time of granting the bail to the accused cannot be made binding upon him, merely because the complainant preferred an appeal, wherein admittedly even no notice was served. He further argued that the impugned order was passed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate in blatant violation of the order of the High Court. 

While terming the impugned order as one passed in flagrant violation of clear and unambiguous direction issued by the High Court, the High Court called for an explanation from the CJM, Yamuna Nagar. 

The State counsel pointed out that though the direction given by the High Court was specific, the trial Court declined the petitioner’s request on considering the fact that the complainant challenged the judgment of acquittal by filing an appeal, and also noticed that in appeal the accused persons was no served. 

After hearing the parties concerned, the Court observed that while granting the concession of interim pre-arrest bail to the petitioner on the deposit of an amount of Rs.1,10,000 , the Court directed the petitioner not to claim the same till the case was finally decided. In this regard, the Court noted that till the conclusion of the trial, the petitioner never claimed a refund of the amount and after his acquittal, the accused was very much within his rights to claim a refund, which was not opposed by state counsel at all. 

Thus, in the opinion of the Court, the direction issued by the High Court was crystal clear and did not require any interpretation, much less by the Chief Judicial Magistrate. Also, after perusing the impugned order, the Court opined that the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Yamuna Nagar needlessly proceeded to interpret the High Court order without any jurisdiction, and further observed that filing of appeal against the judgment of acquittal by the complainant was not brought to the notice of this Court, therefore, the amount should not be disbursed to the applicant/accused till further clarification from the High Court. This reasoning, the Court held was patently absurd and illogical as the order of deposit of amount was considered by the High Court while issuing the directions for the refund of the amount. 

“Besides, the order passed in the bail application and the condition imposed therein could not have been stretched beyond the conclusion of trial, therefore, the impugned order dated 13.01.2021 is not sustainable”, adjudged the Court. 

Also, the Court came down heavily on the explanation given by the CJM, by stating “apart from this, the explanation dated 22.02.2021 sent by Mr. Arvind Kumar, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Yamuna Nagar shows that the officer felt honour in receiving the show cause notice for violation of the order passed by the High Court and attempted to explain that he mistakenly refused to refund the amount as directed by this Court, and regretted inconvenience caused to this Court, as if, the officer failed to comply with the order of this Court on administrative side, e.g.- failure to send requisitioned record of a case, in time.”

Against this backdrop, the Court opined that the expression and reasoning contained in the impugned Order did not show that the disobedience of the direction by this Court was erroneous as claimed in the explanation, therefore, the same was not worth acceptance

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