17 February 2020


Judgments

High Court of Himachal Pradesh

Kehar Singh Vs. State of Himachal Pradesh

MANU/HP/2368/2019

23.12.2019

Criminal

Freedom of an individual cannot be curtailed for indefinite period during pendency of trial

Bail Petitioner who is behind the bars since 31st July, 2019, has approached present Court in the instant proceedings filed under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) praying therein for grant of regular bail in case FIR under Section 306 of IPC, registered at police Station.

Complainant alleged that, her deceased daughter consumed poison on account of cruelty meted to her by bail petitioner as such, appropriate action in accordance with law may be taken against him. In the aforesaid background, a case under Section 306 of IPC, came to be lodged against the bail Petitioner on 31.7.2019 and since then he is behind the bars.

Present Court finds that, on 31st July, 2019 deceased committed suicide by consuming poison, but investigation conducted so far reveals that none of the independent witness has stated something specific with regard to ill-treatment and mental harassment to the deceased by the bail Petitioner or his other family members. It is only complainant(father) and sister- in-law of the deceased, who have stated that, deceased committed suicide on the instigation of present bail petitioner. None of the witnesses from the locality, where deceased used to reside prior to alleged incident has stated something specific with regard to maltreatment meted to the deceased by the petitioner or other family members.

Statement of son of the deceased clearly suggests that, before the alleged incident, some verbal altercation took place inter se bail Petitioner and the deceased, whereafter deceased consumed poison, but definitely that cannot be a ground to conclude at this stage that bail petitioner compelled/instigated the deceased to commit suicide. The question "whether cruelty was being meted to deceased on account of bringing less dowry and deceased was being given merciless beating by bail petitioner" is to be decided and determined by the Court below on the basis of the totality of evidence to be collected on record by the Investigating Agency. Present Court sees no reason to curtail the freedom of bail petitioner for indefinite period during trial, especially when nothing remains to be recovered from him. It is not in dispute that there is none to take care of minor son of the bail Petitioner.

Hon'ble Apex Court as well as this Court in catena of cases have held that, freedom of an individual cannot be curtailed for indefinite period during the pendency of the trial because one is deemed to be innocent until his/her guilt, is not proved in accordance with law. In the case at hand, guilt, if any, of the bail Petitioner is yet to be proved in accordance with law by leading cogent and convincing evidence. Apprehension expressed by learned Additional Advocate General with regard to petitioner's fleeing from justice in the event of his being enlarged on bail, can be best met by putting him to stringent conditions.

Recently, the Hon'ble Apex Court in Dataram Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr., has categorically held that, a fundamental postulate of criminal jurisprudence is the presumption of innocence, meaning thereby that a person is believed to be innocent until found guilty. Hon'ble Apex Court further held that, while considering prayer for grant of bail, it is important to ascertain whether the accused was participating in the investigations to the satisfaction of the investigating officer and was not absconding or not appearing when required by the investigating officer. Hon'ble Apex Court further held that, if an accused is not hiding from the investigating officer or is hiding due to some genuine and expressed fear of being victimized, it would be a factor that a judge would need to consider in an appropriate case.

Court has to keep in mind nature of accusations, nature of evidence in support thereof, severity of the punishment which conviction will entail, character of the accused, circumstances which are peculiar to the accused involved in that crime. Petitioner is ordered to be enlarged on bail subject to his furnishing personal bond in the sum of Rs. 1,00,000 with one surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the learned trial Court, with conditions. The bail petition stands disposed of accordingly.

Tags : Bail Grant Conditions

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