• Vinod Bhandari Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh

  • Head Notes

    • Vinod Bhandari v. State of Madhya Pradesh, Criminal Appeal No. 220/2015 Judgment Dated- 04/02/2015, Bench- T.S. Thakur, J.& Adarsh Kumar Goel, JJ, Supreme Court Of India- Citations- 2015(2) SCALE 195= 2015(2) SLT 66=  2015(1) Crimes 160(SC)= 2015 CrLJ 1547= 2015(2) JCC 1127= 2015(1) JT 600. [Full PDF Judgments]: Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 - Sections 437 & 439 - Bail pending trial - Refusal to grant - Offence of high magnitude indicating illegal admission to large number of undeserving candidates to medical courses by corrupt means - Allegations that appellant, Managing Director of a Medical Institute had received money (crores of rupees) from the undeserving candidates in the process - Appellant was arrested on 30.1.2014 - Substantial investigation has been completed and charge-sheets filed but certain aspects are still being investigated - There are in all 516 accused out of which 329 persons have been arrested and 187 are due to be arrested - There is no prospect of immediate trial - However, there is a potential of trial being adversely influenced by grant of bail - Whether there is any ground to interfere with the view taken by the trial court and the High Court in declining bail? - Held, no - Penal Code, 1860 - Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 120-B - M.P. Manyata Prapt Pariksha Adhiniyam, 1937 - Sections 3(d), 1, 2/4 - Information Technology Act, 2000 - Sections 65 & 66 - Prosecution for offences - Bail application.- Head Note-2- Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 - Sections 437 & 439 - Bail pending trial - Presumption of innocence - Seriousness of allegation or availability of material in support thereof are not the only considerations for declining bail - Delay in commencement and conclusion of trial is a factor to be taken into account - Accused cannot be kept in custody for indefinite period, if trial is not likely to be concluded within reasonable time - Object of keeping a person in custody is to ensure his availability to face the trial and to receive the sentence that may be passed - Detention is not supposed to be punitive or preventive - At pre-conviction stage, there is presumption of innocence.- HELD: It is well settled that at pre-conviction stage, there is presumption of innocence. The object of keeping a person in custody is to ensure his availability to face the trial and to receive the sentence that may be passed. The detention is not supposed to be punitive or preventive. Seriousness of the allegation or the availability of material in support thereof are not the only considerations for declining bail. Delay in commencement and conclusion of trial is a factor to be taken into account and the accused cannot be kept in custody for indefinite period if trial is not likely to be concluded within reasonable time.- Further Held- In the light of above settled principles of law dealing with the prayer for bail pending trial, we proceed to consider the present case. Undoubtedly, the offence alleged against the appellant has serious adverse impact on the fabric of the society. The offence is of high magnitude indicating illegal admission to large number of undeserving candidates to the medical courses by corrupt means. Apart from showing depravity of character and generation of black money, the offence has the potential of undermining the trust of the people in the integrity of medical profession itself. If undeserving candidates are admitted to medical courses by corrupt means, not only the society will be deprived of the best brains treating the patients, the patients will be faced with undeserving and corrupt persons treating them in whom they will find it difficult to repose faith. In these circumstances, when the allegations are supported by material on record and there is a potential of trial being adversely influenced by grant of bail, seriously jeopardising the interest of justice, we do not find any ground to interfere with the view taken by the trial Court and the High Court in declining bail.- Further Held- It is certainly a matter of serious concern that the appellant has been in custody for about one year and there is no prospect of immediate trial. When a person is kept in custody to facilitate a fair trial and in the interest of the society, it is duty of the prosecution and the Court to take all possible steps to expedite the trial. Speedy trial is a right of the accused and is also in the interest of justice. We are thus, of the opinion that the prosecution and the trial Court must ensure speedy trial so that right of the accused is protected. This Court has already directed that the investigation be finally completed and final charge sheet filed on or before March 15, 2015. We have also been informed that a special prosecutor has been appointed and the matter is being tried before a Special Court. The High Court is monitoring the matter. We expect that in these circumstances, the trial will proceed day to day and its progress will be duly monitored. Material witnesses may be identified and examined at the earliest. Having regard to special features of this case, we request the High Court to take up the matter once in three months to take stock of the progress of trial and to issue such directions as may be necessary. We also direct that if the trial is not completed within one year from today for reasons not attributable to the appellant, the appellant will be entitled to apply for bail afresh to the High Court which may be considered in the light of the situation which may be then prevailing.- Judgment.
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