Conduct Of Accused Even Prior To Filing Anticipatory Bail Plea Relevant Factor To Determine Entitlement To Relief: Punjab & Haryana HC


Chambers of Ishaan Garg

Ch. No. 217, Western Wing, District & Sessions Court, Tis Hazari, New Delhi, Delhi 110054

+91 8851742417, +91 8800386163

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that the conduct of an accused is an essential factor required to be considered by a Court while adjudicating upon his plea for grant of pre-arrest bail.

A bench of Justice Sumeet Goel said, "The conduct of an accused is an essential factor required to be considered by a Court while adjudicating upon a plea made by such an accused for grant of pre-arrest/anticipatory bail. An accused cannot seek shelter of provisions of Sections 41/41-A of Cr.P.C. dehors his conduct."

Such conduct has to be ascertained at all stages including the conduct of such accused before filing the plea for anticipatory bail as also during the period the accused is granted interim protection (if it has been so granted) by a Court, it added.

The Court also clarified that the parameters for adjudicating the conduct of an accused cannot be laid down in a straight jacket formula but it laid down following illustrations:

(a) whether the accused is making himself available for interrogation by the investigating officer as and when required by such investigating officer.

(b) whether the accused is, directly or indirectly, making any inducement/threat/promise to any person(s) acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the Courts/Investigating Officer.

(c) whether the accused has made any attempt to leave India without the requisite permission from the concerned competent Court.

(d) whether such accused has been involved in commission of any other offence during the pendency of the FIR in question.

The Court was hearing the anticipatory bail plea of a man booked under Sections 498-A and 406 of IPC. The petitioner was accused of committing cruelty by beating and harassing his wife.

His counsel argued that petitioner was falsely roped in the present case and the FIR in question is outcome of matrimonial discord and does not involve any such culpability so as to warrant custodial interrogation.

After hearing the submissions, the Court considered the question as to whether conduct of an accused is a relevant factor for adjudication of a plea for anticipatory bail.

The Court referred to Mohammed Zubair vs. Stateof NCT of Delhi & Ors. [2022 LiveLaw (SC) 629] and Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar, (2014) to underscore that it is mandatory for the Police, Prosecution as also the Courts to scrupulously follow the provisions contained in Sections 41 & 41-A of the CrPC in the manner, as directed by the Supreme Court. An apprehension of any violation(s) of the above guidelines laid-down by the Supreme Court at the hands of the Police would entitle a person to make a petition for grant of pre-arrest/anticipatory bail, the bench added.

"However, the above said legislative mandate as contained in Sections 41 & 41-A of the CrPC cannot be stretched to mean that the conduct of an accused does not remain a factor to be considered by a Court...a Court cannot be expected to turn Nelson's eye to the misconduct of an accused while dealing with a petition for grant of anticipatory bail. This interpretation is further fortified by the nature of factors enumerated in Section 438(1) of Cr.P.C. for considering a plea for grant of pre-arrest bail", it opined.

The Court noted that as per the record the petitioner was extending threats to the complainant as also her family members after interim pre-arrest bail was granted by the Court.

Thus, in the light of petitioner's misconduct, the Court refused to grant him the concession of anticipatory bail. Consequently, the plea was dismissed.

Case Title- Dilpreet Singh v. State of Punjab and another (2024 P&H HC)