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Whether Cancellation of Bail Application Can be Considered on Merits?

The State Through Central Bureau of Investigation v. T. Gangi Reddy @ Yerra Gangi Reddy. This appeal arises due to dissatisfaction with the impugned judgement by the High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Amravati. With the denial of permission to consider the case for cancellation of bail on merits, the Investigating Agency – C.B.I. has filed the present appeal.

 

Facts:

On March 15, 2019, Shri Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy was discovered to be dead in his house. In course of the investigation, the State Police Agency arrested the respondent. Under Section 167(2) of the Cr.P.C., the respondent—accused No. 1—filed a bail application for default bail and the learned JMFC allowed it. This gave rise to the appeal. An investigation revealed that a conspiracy was hatched up to kill the deceased. A Criminal Petition was filed before the High Court under Section 439(2) of Cr.P.C. The High Court has rejected the said petition that once the accused no. 1 was released on default bail, it cannot be cancelled on merits. At this stage, the C.B.I. has preferred an appeal. Also, the daughter and the wife of the deceased filed a writ petition under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, seeking to transfer the trial to C.B.I., Special Court and to direct the C.B.I. to duly complete the investigation. The writ petition’s allegations of evidence tampering and pressuring the C.B.I. officers by filing fake complaints against them led to its approval.

 

Issues:

1. Whether an accused person is released on default bail, under what circumstances might his bail be cancelled?
2. Whether bail can be cancelled on merits having found committed a non-bailable crime on conclusion of the investigation and filing the charge sheet?

Appellant’s Contention:

The learned ASG Shri K.M. Nataraj, appearing on behalf of the appellant, the C.B.I. submitted that as such release of an accused on default bail cannot be said to be releasing the accused on merits. The accused is released on default bail on failure of the investigating agency to conclude the investigation within the stipulated time. Though the bail is granted under proviso to sub-section (2) of Section 167
Cr.P.C., the same can be cancelled by the Court in terms of Section 437(5) and Section 439(2) Cr.P.C. It is submitted that as the bail was granted due to default and without the Court adverting to the merits of the case, the merits brought about in the charge sheet and attending circumstance would be relevant. The learned ASG relied on the case Aslam Babalal Desai v. State of Maharashtra that as observed and held by this Court on the special grounds being made out that the accused has committed serious offences and he deserves to be in custody. He also relied upon the case of Abdul Basit Alias Raju and Ors. V. Mohd. Abdul Kadir Chaudhary and Anr. in support of his submission that the bail granted can be cancelled on a application by the prosecuting agency. It is prayed to allow the present appeal and cancel the bail granted on merits considering the charge sheet and considering the seriousness of the offences alleged to have been committed by the accused.

 

Respondent’s Contention:

The appeal is opposed by the learned Senior Advocate Shri B. Adinarayana Rao, appearing on behalf of the respondent. It is contended that mere filing of the chargesheet cannot serve as a ground to cancel the bail granted to the respondent. It is submitted that the High Court has rightly refused to cancel the default bail. The investigation has been taken over by the C.B.I., a chargesheet has been filed and the C.B.I. then filed the application before the Trial Court for the cancellation of bail which was dismissed. It is submitted that once the accused is released on bail, the same cannot be taken away on subsequent filing of the Chargesheet. By relying on the case Mohamed Iqbal Madar Sheikh and Ors., it is prayed to dismiss the present appeal. He also relied upon the case Rakesh Kumar Paul v. State of Assam by
submitting that in case the accused is released on default bail, he is entitled to petition for grant of regular bail which application should be considered on its own merit.

 

Observations:

As the bail was granted due to the investigating officer’s default, without the court’s adverting to the merits, Justice K. Ramaswamy concurred with this point of view. However, he added that there must be compelling grounds to revoke the bail and that merely submitting the chargesheet is not enough. Justice Punchhi taking the view that every person released on bail shall be deemed to be so released
under the provisions of XXXIII for the purposed of that Chapter and does not ipso facto mean that the bail orders on merit. When special reasons are being made from the charge sheet and it reveals the commission of a non-bailable, the bail in favor of a person, who has been released on default bail can be cancelled by taking Section 437(5) and Section 439(2) of Cr.P.C. into consideration.

 

Judgment:
It was noted that filing of the charge sheet is not enough. There must be a compelling argument that the accused committed a crime for which there is no possibility of a bail and that he should be held in custody. The proceedings of cancellation of bail was transferred to the High Court of Telangana to consider, decide and dispose of the application on merits. The appeal is allowed.

 

Name: Harishri S
Course & Year: BBA LLB (Hons.) II Year
College: SASTRA Deemed to be University

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