• Anticipatory Bail

  • The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 [CrPC] has a provision, which confers on the Court of Session & the High Court the power to grant anticipatory bail. The Petitioner can move the Court/ High Court if he has a `reason to believe' that he may be arrested on accusation of having committed a non-bailable offence. The S-438 of the CrPC envisages the provisions for Anticipatory Bail.

    Where an FIR has been lodged elsewhere i.e. outside the territorial jurisdiction of that Court, the Court is duty bound to consider whether the applicant is a regular or bona fide resident of a place within its jurisdiction. The Court has to record its satisfaction that there is not any camouflage or façade to evade the process of law.

    Grant of anticipatory bail under Section 438 Cr.PC is however a matter of a judicial discretion. We have numerous Judgments and Orders, passed by High Courts all over India and by the Hon’ble Supreme Court Of India, granting, as also rejecting the Bail and Anticipatory Bail Applications. In the light of the directions passed by the Apex Court from time to time, parameters to be considered by the Courts for grant of anticipatory bail in India are:

    [Vital Parameters/Considerations For Anticipatory Bail]

    1. Whether there is any prima facie or reasonable ground to believe that the accused had or had not committed the offence;
    2. Whether the accusation has been made with the object of injuring or humiliating the Petitioner by having him so arrested.
    3. Whether a fit case for custodial interrogation.
    4. Whether the Petitioner has joined the investigation or is prepared to join the same.
    5. All other considerations applicable in the Case of a regular Bail.

    Law Commission -July, 2012 report On Bail/ Anticipatory Bail: 

    The Law Commission severely criticized the police of our country for arbitrary use of power to arrest, raising following substantial questions of law:

    (i)  Bail, not jail, is the rule. Arrest should be the option, and it should be restricted to those cases where arresting the accused is imperative in the facts and circumstances of the case and based on the available material- substantiality of the accusation & evidence.

    (ii)  S-438 (1), got to be interpreted in the light of Art.21.- Entitlement of Police to arrest is different from justification of arrest.- While granting bail balance has to be struck between two factors, the right of Police to conduct investigations and right of the Accused. On the one hand, no prejudice should be caused to the free and fair investigation and on the other, there should be prevention of harassment, humiliation, and unjustified detention of the accused.

    (iii)  There is no straight jacket formula for granting or rejection of Bail Applications, The Powers of granting Bail, being discretionary, have to be exercised/ applied in the light of the circumstances of each Case, as each case depends upon its own facts and circumstances.

    (iv) Frivolity in prosecution- In the event of there being some doubt to the genuineness of the, the accused is entitled for bail

    (v) The Courts to consider the following factors on the touchstone of reasonableness, the factors namely:  (a) the apprehensions of tempering witnesses; or (b) apprehension of threat to the Complainant; or (c) post Arrest Factors, namely: (i) flee from justice (ii) tempering  with the witnesses (iii) repeat of the offence, etc.

    Citing the Judgments and Orders, passed by the superior Courts, the aggrieved husbands and their relatives are entitled to move the concerned Courts for seeking Anticipatory Bail. For convenience sake, we have divided the subject in hand in the following categories:

    Courts & Fora

    [In Hierarchical Order]

    • Supreme Court Of India
    • High Courts Of Various States
    • District & Sessions Judge [D&SJ] 
    • Metropolitan Magistrates [MM]
    • Judicial Magistrates [JM]
    • Mediators & Concilliators

    Governing Legal Provisions

    The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

    Section- 438. Direction for grant of bail to person apprehending arrest.- (1) Where any person has reason to believe that he may be arrested on accusation of having committed a non-bailable offence, he may apply to the High Court or the Court of Session for a direction under this section that in the event of such arrest he shall be released on bail; and that Court may, after taking into consideration, inter alia, the following factors, namely:-

    1. the nature and gravity of the accusation;
    2. the antecedents of the applicant including the fact as to whether he has previously undergone imprisonment on conviction by a Court in respect of any cognizable offence;
    3. the possibility of the applicant to flee from justice; and.
    4. where the accusation has been made with the object of injuring or humiliating the applicant by having him so arrested,either reject the application forthwith or issue an interim order for the grant of anticipatory bail:

    Provided that, where the High Court or, as the case may be, the Court of Session, has not passed any interim order under this sub-section or has rejected the application for grant of anticipatory bail, it shall be open to an officer in-charge of a police station to arrest, without warrant the applicant on the basis of the accusation apprehended in such application.

    (1A) Where the Court grants an interim order under sub-section (1), it shall forthwith cause a notice being not less than seven days notice, together with a copy of such order to be served on the Public Prosecutor and the Superintendent of Police, with a view to give the Public Prosecutor a reasonable opportunity of being heard when the application shall be finally heard by the Court,

    (1B) The presence of the applicant seeking anticipatory bail shall be obligatory at the time of final hearing of the application and passing of final order by the Court, if on an application made to it by the Public Prosecutor, the Court considers such presence necessary in the interest of justice.]

    (2) When the High Court or the Court of Session makes a direction under subsection (1), it may include such conditions in such directions in the light of the facts of the particular case, as it may thinks fit, including-

    1. a condition that the person shall make himself available for interrogation by a police officer as and when required;
    2. a condition that the person shall not, directly or indirectly, make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the Court or to any police officer;
    3. a condition that the person shall not leave India without the previous permission of the Court;
    4. such other condition as may be imposed under sub-section (3) of section 437, as if the bail were granted under that section.

    (3) If such person is thereafter arrested without warrant by an officer in charge of a police station on such accusation, and is prepared either at the time of arrest or at any time while in the custody of such officer to give bail, he shall be released on bail, and if a Magistrate taking cognizance of such offence decides that a warrant should issue in the first instance against that person, he shall issue a bailable warrant in conformity with the direction of the Court under sub-section (1).

    Anticipatory Bail Judgments U/S-438 Of The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973

    Citation Of Judgments On Anticipatory Bail on 498A IPC

    • Abdulla Versus State (Govt Of NCT Of Delhi), Bail Appln. No. 72/2015, Decided On 30-01-2015., Bench: Manmohan Singh, J, Delhi High Court- Anticipatory Bail- Proclaimed offender not entitled to the relief of Anticipatory Bail [Full PDF Judgment].
    • Arnesh Kumar Vs. State Of Bihar- SC-02.07.2014- Criminal Appeal No. 1277  OF 2014- (2014) 8 SCC 273- Anticipatory Bail- U/S-438 CrPC- Offence- IPC-S-498A- S-4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961- No Arrest Guidelines Issued [Full PDF Judgments].
    • Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia & Ors., Vs. State of Punjab- SC-09.04.1980- Criminal Appeals Nos.335 Of 1978- (1980) 2 SCC 565=1980 AIR 1632- Anticipatory Bail- Judicial Balancing of Personal Liberty of the accused and the Investigational Powers [Full PDF JudgmentFive Judge Constitution Bench].
    • Honey Preet Insan Vs. State [of Delhi]- Delhi High Court-26.09.2017- Bail Application No.-1983 of 2017- Anticipatory Bail- Whenever, an application for anticipatory bail is made before a Court, where an FIR has been lodged elsewhere i.e. outside the territorial jurisdiction of that Court, the Court is duty bound to consider whether the applicant is a regular or bona fide resident of a place within the local limits of that Court and is not a camouflage to evade the process of law. If the Court is not satisfied on this aspect, the application deserves to be rejected without going into the merits of the case [Full PDF Judgment].
    • Ranjitsing   Brahmajeetsing   Sharma   Vs.   State   of Maharashtra- (2005) 5 SCC 294- - Bail in PMLA, ED, and Analogous Crimes Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999- Held, “44.  The wording of Section 21(4), in our opinion, does not lead to the conclusion that the Court must arrive at a positive finding that  the applicant for bail has not committed an offence under the Act. If such a construction is placed, the court intending to grant bail must arrive at a finding that the applicant has not committed such an offence. In such an event, it will be impossible for the prosecution to obtain a judgment of conviction of the applicant. Such cannot be the intention of the Legislature. Section 21(4) of MCOCA, therefore, must   be construed reasonably.   It   must   be   so construed that the Court is able to maintain a delicate balance between a judgment of acquittal and conviction and an order granting bail much before commencement of trial. Similarly, the Court   will   be   required   to   record   a   finding   as   to   the possibility   of   his   committing   a   crime   after   grant of bail. However, such an offence in futuro must be an offence under the Act and not any other offence. Since it is difficult to predict the future conduct of an accused, the court must necessarily consider   this   aspect   of   the   matter   having   regard   to   the antecedents of the accused, his propensities and the nature and manner in which he is alleged to have committed the offence. 45. It   is,   furthermore,   trite   that   for   the   purpose   of considering an application for grant of bail, although detailed reasons are not necessary to be assigned, the order granting bail must demonstrate application of mind at least in serious cases as to why the applicant has been granted or denied the privilege of bail. 46. The duty of the court at this stage is not to weigh the evidence meticulously but to arrive at a finding on the basis of broad probabilities. However, while  dealing with a special statute like MCOCA having regard to the provisions contained in Sub­section (4) of Section 21 of the Act, the Court may have to probe into the matter deeper so as to enable it to arrive at a finding that   the   materials   collected   against   the   accused during   the   investigation   may   not   justify   a   judgment   of conviction. The findings recorded by the Court while granting or refusing bail undoubtedly would be tentative in nature, which may not have any bearing on the merit of the case and the trial court would, thus, be free to decide the case on the basis of evidence adduced at the trial, without in any manner being prejudiced thereby.” [Full PDF Judgment].
    • Rohit Tandon Vs. The Enforcement Directorate, Criminal Appeal Nos.1878-­1879-3JBSC-10.11.2017-_______- Bail in PMLA, ED, and Analogous Crimes- Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2012 (PMLA)- S-45- The Court was not called upon to consider the efficacy of Section 45 of the Act of 2002- Held, “18. The consistent view taken by this Court is that economic offences having deep­rooted conspiracies and involving huge loss of public funds need to be viewed seriously and considered as grave offences affecting the economy of the country as a whole and thereby posing serious threat to the financial health of the country.  Further, when attempt is made to project the proceeds   of   crime   as   untainted   money   and   also   that   the allegations may not ultimately be established,  but having been made,   the   burden   of   proof   that   the   monies   were   not   the proceeds of crime and were not, therefore, tainted shifts  on the accused persons under Section 24 of the Act of 2002.”.- Further held, “19…. It has been expounded that the Court at the stage of considering the application for grant of bail, shall consider the question   from   the   angle   as   to   whether   the   accused   was possessed of the requisite mens rea.  The Court is not required to record a positive finding that the accused had not committed an offence   under   the   Act.   The   Court   ought   to   maintain   a delicate   balance   between   a   judgment   of   acquittal   and conviction   and   an   order   granting   bail   much   before commencement of trial. The duty of the Court at this stage is not   to   weigh   the   evidence   meticulously   but   to   arrive   at   a finding on the basis of broad probabilities.  Further, the Court is   required   to   record   a   finding   as   to   the   possibility   of   the accused committing a crime which is an offence under the Act after grant of bail. Further held, “27. Suffice it to observe that the appellant has not succeeded in   persuading  us about  the  inapplicability  of  the  threshold stipulation under Section 45 of the Act…… It   is,   therefore,   not   possible   for   us   to   record satisfaction that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the appellant is not guilty of such offence.  Further, the Courts below have justly adverted to the antecedents of the appellant for considering the prayer for bail and concluded that it is not possible to hold that the appellant is not likely to commit any offence ascribable to the Act of 2002 while on bail. Since the threshold stipulation predicated in Section 45 has not been overcome,   the   question   of   considering   the   efficacy   of   other points urged by the appellant to persuade the Court to favour the appellant with the relief of regular bail will be of no avail. In other words, the fact that the investigation in the predicate offence instituted in terms of FIR No.205/2016   or that the investigation   qua   the   appellant   in   the   complaint   CC No.700/2017 is completed; and that the proceeds of crime is already in   possession   of   the   investigating   agency   and provisional attachment order in relation thereto passed on 13th February, 2017 has been confirmed; or that charge­sheet has been filed in FIR No.205/2016 against the appellant without his   arrest;   that   the   appellant   has   been   lodged   in   judicial custody since 2nd January, 2017 and has not been interrogated or  examined   by   the   Enforcement   Directorate   thereafter;   all these will be of no consequence.” [Full PDF Judgment].
    • Rohit-Tondan-DelHC-05.05.2017-Bail-Application-119-of-2017-Bail-in-PMLA-ED-and-Analogous-Crimes[Full PDF Judgments].
    • X (Changed name) Versus State & Anr., CRL.M.C.2120/2015 & CRL.M.A.No.1567/2016, Judgment Dated: 04.03.2016, Bench: S.P.GARG, J, DelHC-  Anticipatory Bail- Sexual harassment Case- Held, "16. Petitioner’s counsel has failed to impress as to for what purpose, custodial interrogation of the Petitioner is required. While granting anticipatory bail to the Petitioner, safeguarding the Petitioner’s interest and that of the Investigating Agency, stringent conditions have already been imposed upon the accused. This Court finds no manifest error in the matter of grant of bail by the Trial Court. "- Cancellation Of Bail.

    Related Links

    • Format Anticipatory Bail Petition- District & Sessions Judge
    • Format Anticipatory Bail Petition- High Court
    • Related Legal provisions- S-438 Cr.P.C.  

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