The Supreme Court has observed that criminal cases cannot be converted into money recovery proceedings and granting bail to the accused on condition of making payment in a certain mode/instalments must be disapproved.

A Bench comprising Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Hrishikesh Roy observed, "Time and again, this Court has observed that criminal cases cannot be converted into money recovery proceedings and such conditions, of granting bail on payment, have been disapproved."

The Court also held, "prima facie, we find it difficult to endorse the approach of the High Court in granting pre-arrest bail with the condition of petitioner depositing a sum of Rs. 50,000/- by way of demand draft in the name of informant and then truncating the liberty period to six months, while requiring the petitioner to pay the entire amount as alleged by the informant."

Advocate Vishnu Kant appeared for the Petitioner.

The petitioner had initially approached the Patna High Court for obtaining anticipatory bail in connection with an FIR registered against him. The High Court required the accused to deposit a demand draft of Rs. 50,000 favoring the informant, in addition to the furnishing of bail bond.

The High Court's order read-

"Thereafter he shall be granted provisional bail for a period of six months. The petitioner will pay the entire amount in installments in one go, which is convenient to him, within six months. After payment of the entire amount, his provisional bail shall be confirmed. Upon failure to deposit any two consecutive installments, bail bond of the petitioner shall stand automatically cancelled and he shall be taken into custody."

As per the petitioner, he was a witness in a case involving the killing of his brother, and in that case, the informant (sister-in-law of the petitioner) and her son were accused. The FIR was lodged by his sister-in-law to deter him from conducting the said other case relating to the killing of the petitioner's brother.

The Supreme Court did not interfere with the grant of pre-arrest bail to the petitioner but stayed the operation of the High Court's Order to the extent the petitioner was required to deposit payment in instalments.

Cause Title- Sanjay Singh v. State of Bihar

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