Sunday, 31 January 2021

When court should not entertain successive anticipatory bail application on the ground of change of circumstances?

 As a matter of fact, successive anticipatory bail

applications ought not to be entertained and more so,

when the case diary and the status report, clearly

indicated that the accused (respondent No. 2) is

absconding and not cooperating with the investigation.

The specious reason of change in circumstances cannot be

invoked for successive anticipatory bail applications,

once it is rejected by a speaking order and that too by

the same Judge.


IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. OF 2021


G.R. ANANDA BABU  Vs THE STATE OF TAMIL NADU

Dated: January 28, 2021

Leave granted.

Heard learned counsel for the parties.

This appeal takes exception to the judgment and order

dated 24.11.2020 passed by the High Court of Judicature

at Madras in Crl. O.P. No. 18412 of 2020, granting

anticipatory bail to respondent No.2 in connection with

FIR No. 153 of 2019 for the offences punishable under

Sections 143, 436, 302, 307, 149 and 120B of Indian Penal

Code.

The incident in question has occurred on 11.11.2019.

Respondent No. 2 applied for anticipatory bail before the

High Court first vide Crl. O.P. No. 32759 of 2019, which

came to be rejected by a speaking order dated 20.12.2019.

Despite rejection of anticipatory bail by the High Court,


respondent No.2 after some gap moved another application

for anticipatory bail being Crl. O.P. No. 8023 of 2020

which for reasons, cannot be discerned from the record,

was heard by another judge. Nevertheless, it was rejected

vide a speaking order dated 29.05.2020 and more

importantly taking note of the fact that there was no

change in circumstances and the investigation was still

incomplete. Respondent No. 2 then moved a third

anticipatory bail application being Crl. O.P. No. 18412

of 2020, which has been allowed by the impugned judgment

by the same Judge, who had rejected the second

anticipatory bail application, referred to above, vide

order dated 24.11.2020 (impugned order).

On this occasion, the learned Judge recorded

following reasons for acceding to the request for grant

of anticipatory bail to respondent No.2. The same read

thus:

“(i) The date of occurrence is 11.11.2019.

(ii) Other 13 accused were arrested and

surrendered, their confessional statements were

recorded and they were released on bail.

(iii) 127 private witnesses were examined and

their statements were recorded.

(iv) 12 months is over from the date of

occurrence.

(v) Six months have passed from the date of

dismissal of earlier anticipatory bail

application.

(vi) The petitioner is aged 69 years alleged to

be suffering from age related ailments and he is

willing to co-operate with the investigation.”

We have perused the status report submitted by the

Investigating Officer before the High Court for

consideration along with case diary, clearly indicating

that custodial interrogation of respondent No. 2 is

essential and the investigation is still incomplete.

Nevertheless, on the third occasion, the learned Judge

acceded to the request of respondent No. 2 and granted

anticipatory bail, without referring to these crucial

facts noted in the status report. None of the reasons

cited by the learned Judge, in our opinion, can be said

to be just basis to show indulgence to respondent No. 2.

As a matter of fact, successive anticipatory bail

applications ought not to be entertained and more so,

when the case diary and the status report, clearly

indicated that the accused (respondent No. 2) is

absconding and not cooperating with the investigation.

The specious reason of change in circumstances cannot be

invoked for successive anticipatory bail applications,

once it is rejected by a speaking order and that too by

the same Judge.


To observe sobriety, we refrain from making any

further observation, except to observe, that the impugned

order, to say the least, is perverse; and also because no

prejudice should be caused to respondent No.2 and affect

the trial against him.

Accordingly, the impugned judgment and order is set

aside. The Investigating Officer is free to take

respondent No. 2 into custody forthwith.

The appeal is allowed in the above terms.

Pending applications, if any, stand disposed of.

…...................J

(A.M. KHANWILKAR)

…...................J

(B.R. GAVAI)

…...................J

(KRISHNA MURARI)

New Delhi

January 28, 2021


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