A two-judge Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice AS Bopanna has held that if proceedings have already been initiated under Sections 82-83 CrPC and the accused is declared as an absconder/proclaimed offender, then the relief of anticipatory bail cannot be granted to him.

An appeal was preferred by the original informant-complainant against the judgment of the Patna High Court which had granted an anticipatory bail to the accused-Respondent No. 2 against whom an FIR was lodged for offences punishable under Sections 406, 407, 468, 506 of IPC.

In this case, an arrest warrant was issued against the accused-Respondent No. 2. Thereafter, it was alleged that the accused-Respondent No. 2 was absconding and concealed himself to avoid service of the warrant of arrest. A proclamation under Section 82 CrPC was issued against the accused by the Chief Judicial Magistrate after which Respondent No.2 -accused applied for anticipatory bail before the Trial Court, which was dismissed.

The Appellant contended before the Court that the High Court had granted anticipatory bail to the accused- Respondent No. 2 solely on the basis that the accusations are ones arising out of a business transaction, without further considering the nature of allegations. It was further argued that once a proclamation was issued against a person under Sections 82-83 CrPC he was not entitled to the benefit of anticipatory bail.

It was further contended that a chargesheet was also filed against the accused-Respondent No. 2 for the offences under Sections 406 and 420 IPC which were serious in nature.

The Respondent contended that merely because a cheque was given and it came to be dishonored it could not be said that offences under Sections 406 & 420 IPC were made out. Further, it was pleaded that at the most, the case may fall under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

The Apex Court, after considering the contentions of the parties at length, held that a prima facie case was made out against the accused-Respondent No. 2 as he was charged under Sections 406 and 420 of IPC also.

The Court further held that the High Court ignored the fact that the accused-Respondent No. 2 was absconding and proceedings under Sections 82-83 were initiated against him and that the Court granted him anticipatory bail by merely observing that the nature of accusation arose out of a business transaction.

"The specific allegations of cheating, etc., which came to be considered by learned Additional Sessions Judge has not at all been considered by the High Court. Even the High Court has just ignored the factum of initiation of proceedings under sections 82­83 of Cr.PC by simply observing that "be that as it may," the Bench opined.

The Court observed that in the case of State of Madhya Pradesh vs. Pradeep Sharma it was held that if anyone is declared as an absconder/proclaimed offender in terms of section 82 of Cr.PC, he is not entitled to the relief of anticipatory bail.

The Bench held that the High Court committed a grave error in granting anticipatory bail to accused-Respondent No.2 ignoring the proceedings under Section82-83 of CrPC.

"Even the observations made by the High Court while granting the anticipatory bail to respondent No.2 – accused that the nature of accusation is arising out of a business transaction and therefore the accused is entitled to the anticipatory bail is concerned, the same cannot be accepted," the Court asserted.

In the light of these observations, the Court allowed the appeal and set aside and quashed the impugned judgment of Patna High Court. The Court directed the accused-Respondent No. 2 to surrender within two weeks.