Delhi High Court Orders the Release of a Prisoner Detained by the State for Failure on their Part

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On May 15, the Delhi High Court opined against the illegal detention of the petitioner, where the state has failed to execute orders. Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad heard the case. 

Facts of the case

The petitioner has filed this petition as a writ of habeas corpus. He is praying for the issuance of directions to the respondent to release him immediately. He contends in the petition that he has been granted bail in all the 39 cases registered against him in Delhi. But, the Report filed by the State transpires his involvement in 40 cases. 

Arguments by the Petitioner

The counsel for the petitioner submitted that there are 11 cases pending against him. The police arrested the petitioner in 10 cases, all arising in Delhi. The petitioner was either granted regular or interim bail in all the said 10 cases pending in various courts in Delhi. Thus, leaving one case in the Agra Court under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument (N.I.) Act. The counsel for the petitioner said that this ground cannot be a reason to detain the petitioner in jail. 

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The counsel expressed that the Delhi Police in the report has stated that the Court has granted him bail in all the 39 listed case. Hence, the only case left is a private case under Section 138 of the N.I. Act, pending before the Agra Court. The petitioner here took the aid of Section 269 (c) of the Cr.P.C. The petitioner also cited the case of Dharampal & Anr. v. State of U.P. & Anr., 1981 SCC OnLine All 756, to fortify his submission.

Further, the counsel for the petitioner emphasised on the N.I. Act. They stated that a private complaint under Section 138 of the act is, in any event, a bailable offence. These reasons, hence, do not justify detaining the petitioner any longer.

Arguments by the Respondent

The counsel for the respondent explained to the court why the petitioner was not presented before the Agra Court. The Agra court had sent a production warrant to the petitioner. The warrant asked the Jail Superintendent to produce him before the Agra Court. 

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On the first occasion, the production warrant was not executed. The police could not produce him as required on 27.01.2020 because of the Republic Day celebrations.

On the second occasion, the jail authorities could not present the petitioner on 25.02.2020. The warrant was not executed as the authorities received it at the last minute. The jail authorities tried getting the next date. But the Agra Courts are not functioning due to the pandemic. 

Court’s Decision

The Court held the detention of the petitioner invalid. The respondent was unable to execute the production warrants issued by the Court. These directed the petitioner’s presence. 

The efforts made by the respondent to verify the next date have not borne any fruitful result. And we are further informed that the concerned Court at Agra is not functioning. It is just and fair to release the petitioner forthwith on the condition. A bond to the Superintendent Jail undertaking stating the following:

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He will appear before the concerned Court at Agra on the next date of hearing. 

The Court directed the petitioner to file an affidavit – the undertaking to this Court. The Court also warned the petitioner against violating the undertaking. It further cautioned him of the adverse consequences of violating it. 


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