Anticipatory Bail A Statutory Right Enshrined Under Article 21/Section 438 CrPC - Delhi High Court
The Delhi High Court while granting anticipatory bail to the accused under Section 438 of the CrPC has held, "Since the genesis of the statutory right to anticipatory bail is traced under Article 21 of the Constitution, it is essential to understand the true import of the same."
Further, the Bench noted that anticipatory bail has been enshrined as a statutory right as well as under Section 438 CrPC.
The Supreme Court additionally held that such right to life does not merely mean animal-like existence but includes wider connotations to make life meaningful.
A bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh was hearing an application under section 438 of the C.R.P.C for a grant of anticipatory bail for offences punishable under Sections 406/420/34 of IPC.
In this case, applicant no 1 approached M/s. Splendor Landbase Limited ("Complainant Company") in December 2012 and represented that he along with his wife, Sangeeta Bhatia, and his son, Laksh Bhatia(other applicants) were the lawful owners of a land measuring3.61 acres in the revenue estate of Village Ullawas, Tehsil, and District Gurgaon, situated in Sector 63-A. The prosecution further alleged that Pawan Bhatia presented that the said land was eligible for being developed into a Group Housing Colony after taking approvals from the Director of Town and Country Planning ("DTCP"), Haryana. It is further alleged that Pawan Bhatia assured the complainant that the Competent Authority will be taken by landowners and that the Letter of Intent ("LOI") from the DTCP for Group Housing Colonywill be derived soon. Being influenced by the false narratives, the complainant company entered into an MOU and paid an amount of 5 crores to the applicant. But on inquiring, it came to the fore that the applicant was not in possession of any LOI and the land in the picture was embroiled in litigation. A complaint against the applicants was initiated in 2018.
Mr. Arvind Varma, Senior Advocate, appearing for the applicants argued that the applicants have been falsely implicated.
Ms. Kusum Dhalla, APP opposed the application and stated that the applicants have held facts and have failed to cooperate during the investigation, and hence, custodial interrogation of the accused is required. She further contended that there is grave apprehension that the applicants might jump and abscond and therefore bail must be rejected.
The Court referred to the State of Rajasthan v Balachand to emphasize the words of Justice Krishna Iyer in which he emphasized that the basic rule of our criminal justice system is bail and not jail.
The Court relied on the words of Justice Krishna Iyer to note that "Since the genesis of the statutory right to anticipatory bail is traced under Article 21 of the Constitution, it is essential to understand the true import of the same. The Hon‟ble Supreme Court has held that such right to life does not merely mean animal-like existence but includes wider connotations to make the life meaningful. Going a step further, anticipatory bail has been enshrined as a statutory right as well underSection 438 of the Code. Thus, there is no doubt that the provision merits being invoked in appropriate cases, more so, in light of the general bail jurisprudence wherein – bail is a matter of right and „bail, not jail is the normal rule‟
The Court finally noted that despite five years having been passed since the date of registration of the FIR, no charge sheet has been filed to date and, the State has not denied the factum that the applicants have a clear antecedent.
Accordingly, the Court granted anticipatory bail to the accused with certain directions.