The Supreme Court while setting aside the additional condition imposed by Patna High Court in an anticipatory bail held that such a condition of directing a Panchayat Teacher to return her salary is not justified under the law.

The Bench comprising Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice C.T. Ravikumar held –

"After hearing learned counsel for the parties and taking into consideration the material on record, we are of the view that the additional condition of returning the amount drawn by her as salary on appointment as Panchayat Teacher is neither justified nor required under the law while grant of pre-arrest bail to her."

The Bench further held that "Consequently, the additional condition, indicated above, imposed by the High Court under order impugned dated 11.05.2022 is not legally sustainable and accordingly set aside."

Advocate Binay Kumar Das appeared for the petitioner while Advocate Manish Kumar appeared for the respondent.

In this case, the petitioner was appointed as a Panchayat Teacher and during her service, an FIR was registered against her in the year 2020 for the offence under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, and 120B of the Indian Penal Code. When she approached the Sessions Court seeking pre-arrest or anticipatory bail, the same got rejected. However, the High Court granted her pre-arrest bail by an order dated May 11, 2022, on the condition that she will return the salary which she received while working as a Panchayat Teacher.

The condition imposed by the High Court was read as:

"Further condition is that the petitioner shall return the entire amount drawn by her as salary in eighteen equal monthly installments and she shall not claim for her appointment as Panchayat Teacher."

Hence, the matter was before the Supreme Court. The Court in this regard observed –

"Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that whether the petitioner was entitled for pre-arrest bail or post-arrest bail depends upon the facts and circumstances of the case but at the given point of time the High Court was not justified in putting such onerous conditions by calling upon her to return the salary which she has received in equal installments which is neither contemplated under the Code nor it can be made a condition for the purpose of seeking bail and this Court has come forward to question such onerous conditions being put by the High Court while granting pre-arrest/post-arrest bail to the applicant."

Accordingly, the Court set aside such a condition imposed by the High Court and disposed of the Special Leave Petition along with the pending applications.

Cause Title – Divya Bharti v. The State of Bihar

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