Himachal Pradesh HC Emphasizes Bail to Be the Normal Course of Action

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In the present case, Rohit Kumar Rana Versus State of Himachal Pradeshan FIR was launched against the petitioner under sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 120-B of the Indian Penal code read with section 34. The petitioner is also charged under Section 66 of the IT Act. Following the FIR, the petitioner is apprehending his arrest and thus filed for anticipatory bail. The court, consisting of Justice Anoop Chitkara, allowed bail as it deemed the case to be fit for bail.

Brief Facts of the Case

An FIR was launched by the complainant against the petitioner. The petitioner is charged under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 120-B of the Indian Penal code read with section 34. Further, the petitioner is also charged with Section 66 of the IT Act.

The complainant has accused the petitioner, after which the police charged him with the aforementioned sections of IPC and IT Act which stands for Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, forgery of valuable security, will, etc., Forgery for purpose of cheating, Using as genuine a forged document, criminal conspiracy all of them being read with sec 34 ( Acts did in furtherance of common intentions) and for sending offensive messages respectively. 

The petitioner has since been apprehending his arrest and hence filed for anticipation bail under section 438 CrPC.

Arguments by the Petitioner

The learned counsel for the petitioner has claimed that the petitioner has been falsely accused and claimed the case to be forged.

Arguments by the Respondent

The learned counsel for the respondent stated that the petitioner had joined the investigation, but if the Court gives him bail, it should be with strict conditions.

Observations of the Court​ 

​The court referred to precedents given by the Supreme Court, which have deliberated on synonymous disputes.

The court quoted the case Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia and others v. the State of Punjab, 1980 (2) SCC 565, the case held that bail can not grant or refuse on a single ground but has to look at the overall situation surrounding the case. 

Additionally, the court quoted the case of the Gudikanti Narasimhulu v. Public Prosecutor, High Court of Andhra Pradesh, it had a similar opinion as to the said precedent. 

In the case of Dataram Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr, the court observed that the accused is innocent until proven guilty, and the accused should be treated humanely regarding the grant of bail. Also, bail is not meant for every case and can be dismissed if the situation requires so.

The court also quoted the case In Kalyan Chandra Sarkar v. Rajesh Ranjan & Pappu Yadav, 2005 (2) SCC 42, it held that a petition for bail in cases regarding non-bailable offences, the accused has to be detained during the pendency of the trial. But, even in non-bailable cases, the accused can be released on bail if the prosecution has failed to establish a prima facie case, or even if the case has been established, the accused can be enlarged where fact situations require the court to do so. The petitioner’s case can be considered, and he can be enlarged even if his previous applications have also been rejected if there has been a change in the situation. 

The court quoted the case of In State of Rajasthan, Jaipur v. Balchand, AIR 1977 SC 2447, and it held that the bail is denied when the circumstances and severity of the case are such that the court feels that accused is likely to flee from justice. Otherwise, the normal rule is of bail and not jail.

Further Observations

The court found the case of the petitioner similar to the case of Harpriya Manhas where bail was allowed. 

Further, the nature of the case does not prohibit bail; also the custody of the petitioner is not going to serve any fruitful purpose. The accused does not have a criminal history and does not seem to influence the evidence, investigation, or witnesses in any manner, either. The court found the custody of the accused as ” neither warranted nor justified.” Lastly, looking at the present COVID Pandemic, the Court found the case to be Fit for bail.

Judgment

Based on aforesaid facts, the court allowed the petition. Further, the petitioner was ordered to adhere to strict conditions for bail.

First, he has to cooperate and have to be present whenever needed for the investigation. Second, he should not tamper with any evidence or influence the investigation in their support. Third, the court has to be kept updated about his whereabouts. Fourth, if the petitioner repeats the offence or commits a similar offence, then bail would be cancelled. Lastly, he has to be present at the hearing unless he is exempted. 

If the petitioner feels that his rights are being violated, then he can apply to change the conditions of the bail.


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