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Virgen Rupa Talsania-vs-State Of Maharashtra on 19 February, 1996

Bombay High Court Virgen Rupa Talsania-vs-State Of Maharashtra on 19 February, 1996
Equivalent citations:I (1997) DMC 676
Author: V Sahai
Bench: V Sahai

JUDGMENT

Vishnu Sahai, J.

1. Heard Mr. Kiran P. Jain for the applicant and Mrs. Jyoti S. Pawar A.P.P. for State.

2. This is third application for bail in a case under Sections 306 read with 498A, IPC etc. The first application for bail was rejected by D.K. Trivedi, J. vide his order dated 10th June, 1994 passed in Criminal Application No. 1419 of 1994. Thereafter another application for bail preferred on behalf of the applicant vide order dated 20.9.1994 passed in Criminal Application No. 1019 of 1994 was rejected by M.S. Rane, J.

3. In this application bail is sought primarily on the ground of delay in the commencement of the trial of the applicant. The learned Counsel for the applicant urged that the applicant is in jail since 22.2.1994 and no date for his trial has been fixed nor there appears to be any likelihood of his trial commencing in the near future. He invited my attention to the fact that the two offences for which the applicant is being prosecuted viz., 306 and 498A, IPC, are punishable with 10 years rigorous imprisonment and 3 years rigorous imprisonment respectively.

4. Mrs. Jyoti S. Pawar, learned APP true to her customary fairness informed the Court that the case has not been assigned till date to any Judge for trial. This obviously means that the commencement of the trial of the applicant in near future does not even appear to be a remote possibility. However, she vehemently contended that this application be sent to one of the two Judges who had rejected the earlier bail applications preferred by the applicant for there are no cogent new grounds for grant of bail and on dictates of judicial discipline it would not be proper for another learned Single Judge to reverse an order refusing bail passed by another Judge. In this connection she placed before me two decisions of the Apex Court Shahzad Hasan Khan v. Ishtiaq Hasan Khan

and Anr. and State of Maharashtra v. Captain

Buddhikota Subha Rao.

In the first decision three successive bail applications in a murder case had been rejected by a particular Judge of the Allahabad High Court. Thereafter an application for bail was moved before the Vacation Judge, who ordered it to be placed before the same learned Judge who had rejected the earlier applications for bail. However, about 4 days later the same Vacation Judge recalled his order, heard the bail application on merits and released the applicant on bail. It was in such a situation that the Apex Court felt that the learned Vacation Judge has transgressed the limits of judicial propriety. In that decision the Apex Court also observed that the prevailing practice in the Court was that the subsequent bail applications should go before the same learned Judge who had rejected the earlier bail applications. In the Bombay High Court no such practice exists. In the second decision cited by Mrs. Pawar, successive bail applications preferred by the accused were rejected by the High Court on merits having regard to the gravity of the offence alleged to have been committed under the Official Secrets Act, 1923 and Atomic Energy Act, 1962. Undeterred the accused went on making successive applications. Two days after rejection of pending bail applications of the accused by this Court the accused moved another learned Single Judge in the High Court for bail. The learned Judge oblivious of the fact that successive bail applications of the accused had been rejected only two days earlier, enlarged him on bail. It was in such a situation the Apex Court observed that in the absence of any substantial change in circumstance in two days it was not proper for the learned Single Judge of this Court to have granted bail to the accused.

5. The aforesaid two decisions cited by Mrs. Pawar are not applicable in the facts of the present case. Here although two bail applications were moved before this Court but they were rejected by a learned Single Judge as early as 10th June, 1994 (D.K. Trivedi, J.) and 20th September, 1994 (by M.S. Rane, J.) respectively. Apart from the fact that the practice in the Bombay High Court is that subsequent bail applications are not sent to the Judge who had rejected the earlier applications for bail, I am placed in a very difficult situation namely as to which of the two Hon’ble Judges should the present bail application be sent (Trivedi, J. or Rane, J). I further find that in between the rejection of the second application for bail on 20.9.1994 and the preferring of the present application for bail there has been a time lag of 17 months and that this bail application is not being pressed on the merits but on the ground of inordinate delay in the commencement of the trial of the applicant. The ground is that although the applicant is in jail since 22.2.1994, that is, nearly last two years and the offences for which he is being prosecuted are punishable with a maximum sentence of 10 years rigorous imprisonment, his trial has not yet begun, nor there appears any reasonable likelihood of the same beginning in near future. Unlike in the aforesaid two decisions of the Apex Court this is a cogent new ground for enlarging the applicant on bail.

6. Article 21 of the Constitution of India provides that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty, except by the procedure established by law. The Apex Court in the decisions Hussainara Khatoon and Ors. v. Home Secretary, State of Bihar, Patna and , Abdul Rehman Antulay v. R.S. Nayak has held that in the fundamental right conferred by Article 21 is implicit right of an expeditious trial. Bearing this in mind as also the fact that the applicant is in jail for 2 years; that the offences for which he is being prosecuted are neither punishable with life imprisonment nor death; that his case has not been assigned to any Judge and there is no possibility of his trial commencing in the near future, in my view it would be an infraction of the fundamental right conferred on the applicant by Article 21 of the Constitution of India, in case he is not released on bail. In my view, the decisions of the Apex Court cited by the learned APP are not relevant, bearing in mind the peculiar facts and circumstances involved in this bail application.

7. Before parting with this order, I would like to point out that normally it is only where there is an inordinate delay in the commencement of the trial that this Court grants bail in those cases in which on merits bail has been refused by it earlier.

8. In the circumstances, I direct that the applicant be enlarged on bail on his furnishing a personal bond of Rs. 7,500/- and two sureties of the like amount to the satisfaction of the Registrar, Sessions Court, Greater Bombay.

9. Certified copy of this order shall be handed over to the learned Counsel for the State by the end of this week.

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