Read Judgment: Vipan Kumar Dhir vs. State of Punjab & Another 

Pankaj Bajpai

New Delhi, October 6, 2021: The Top Court has opined that while granting bail, especially anticipatory bail which is per se extraordinary in nature, the possibility of the accused to influence prosecution witnesses, threatening the family members of the deceased, fleeing from justice or creating other impediments in the fair investigation, ought not to be overlooked. 

A Larger Bench of Supreme Court comprising of Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli observed that the cancellation of bail is to be dealt on a different footing in comparison to a proceeding for grant of bail and it is necessary that ‘cogent and overwhelming reasons’ are present for the cancellation of bail. 

Conventionally, there can be supervening circumstances which may develop post the grant of bail and are non-conducive to fair trial, making it necessary to cancel the bail, added the Court. 

The Larger Bench opined that bail can also be revoked where the court has considered irrelevant factors or has ignored relevant material available on record which renders the order granting bail legally untenable. 

The gravity of the offence, conduct of the accused and societal impact of an undue indulgence by Court when the investigation is at the threshold, are also amongst a few situations, where a Superior Court can interfere in an order of bail to prevent the miscarriage of justice and to bolster the administration of criminal justice system, added the Bench. 

The Apex Court noted that in the present case, the High Court seems to have been primarily swayed by the fact that the respondent-accused was ‘co-operating’ with investigation, which is, however, contrary to the record as the Respondent remained absconding for more than two years after being declared a proclaimed offender. 

The respondent chose to join investigation only after securing interim bail from the High Court and kept on hiding from the Investigating Agency as well as Magistrate’s Court till she got protection against arrest from the High Court in the second round of bail proceedings, noted the Court.

The Larger Bench clarified that even if there was any procedural irregularity in declaring the Respondent as an absconder, that by itself was not a justifiable ground to grant pre-arrest bail in a case of grave offence save where the High Court on perusal of case diary and other material on record is, prima facie, satisfied that it is a case of false or over exaggerated accusation. 

Further, the ground of parity with co-accused Daksh Adya invoked by the High Court is equally unwarranted, as the allegations in the FIR against the respondent mother-in-law and her younger son Daksh Adya are materially different, added the Bench. 

Stating that the conduct of the Accused in absconding for more than two years without any justifiable reason should have weighed in mind while granting any discretionary relief, the Larger Bench said that the High Court has wrongly accorded the benefit of parity in favour of the Respondent. 

It has to be borne in mind that the deceased met with a tragic end within three months of her marriage. While it is too early to term it an offence u/s 302 or 304B I.P.C., but the fact remains that a young life came to an abrupt end before realizing any of her dreams which were grimly shattered. She died an unnatural death in her matrimonial home”, observed the Bench.

The Apex Court therefore stated that the Investigating Agency deserves a free hand to investigate the role of the Respondent, if any, in the unnatural and untimely death of her daughter-in-law. 

Hence, the Court directed the Respondent-Accused to surrender before the Trial Court within a period of one week.

0 CommentsClose Comments

Leave a comment