Nov 1, 2021 16:45 UTC
Nov 1, 2021 at 16:45 UTC
Case Study: Aman Preet Singh v. CBI
“Interpretation of Section 170 of CrPC“
Citation: LL 2021 SC 416
Date of Judgement: 2nd September 2021
Bench: Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice MM Sundresh
On 5 June 2014, an FIR was lodged in a police station in Kolkata and the appellant had joined the investigation.
On 22 July 2019, the Special Chief Judicial Magistrate (CBI), Bhubaneshwar issued a non-bailable warrant of arrest against the accused, he had been charge-sheeted for Economic offences, including the appellant.
The appellant reached the Supreme Court for anticipatory bail, he was granted interim protection for a period of 8 weeks on 6 May 2021 and was directed to apply for regular bail before the Trial Court.
Thereafter, the appellant was supposed to join the hearing of the Trial Court. When he sought to enter his appearance, his request was declined by the Special Chief Judicial Magistrate (CBI), Bhubaneshwar on 9 June 2021. This decline was predicated on the reasoning that he did not remain physically present.
The Trial Court order dated 9 June 2021 was upheld by the Orissa High Court in a judgement dated 9 July 2021. Aggrieved to it the appellant challenged the Orissa High Court judgement before the Supreme Court.
The Counsel for the appellant had submitted to the Apex Court that the highhandedness of the CBI was apparent from the fact that the public prosecutor had called for the appellant to be sent to the judicial custody, despite the interim protection granted by the Supreme Court.
The Apex Court noted that the appellant was never taken into custody during the investigation and observed that the case was fit for the trial court to grant bail to the appellant also iterated that the interim protection will continue till the appropriate order is passed by the trial Court.
Key Law Point Established:
- Can a accused be denied of bail in a non-bailable offence who was neither been arrested nor produced in custody by the police or investigaion agency during an investigation?
The Supreme Court viewed the circumstances of the accused not being arrested or produced in custody during the investigation is itself sufficient to entitle him to be released on bail. The court said that there shall be no doubt in regard to Section 170 of CrPC with the recent judgement passed by the apex court in Siddharth v. State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr. 2021 SCC onLine SC 615. In addition, the court marked the guiding principle for a magistrate under Section 170 CrPC laid down in Judgement of Delhi High Court in Court on its own Motion v. Central Bureau of Investigation (2004) 72 DRJ 629 in which the court observed that Para 26 (v) of the judgement to be the most appropriate principle in the context of the case.
Para 26 (v): “The Court shall on appearance of an accused in non-bailable offence who has neither been arrested by the police/Investigating Agency during investigation nor produced in custody as envisaged in Section 170, Cr.P.C. call upon the accused to move a bail application if the accused does not move it on his own and release him on bail as the circumstance of his having not been arrested during investigation or not being produced in custody is itself sufficient to entitle him to be released on bail. Reason is simple. If a person has been at large and free for several years and has not been even arrested during investigation, to send him to jail by refusing bail suddenly, merely because charge-sheet has been filed is against the basic principles governing grant or refusal of bail.”