On 4th January, the Chhattisgarh High Court ruled that the investigating officer(IO) should inform the accused about the charge sheet’s filing, especially when the accused is out on bail. The Court observed that Criminal Courts should refrain from issuing bailable warrants of arrest at the first instance.
The observations were made when the Court was hearing a plea challenging the validity of Additional Sessions Court’s order affirming Magistrate’s order denying bail to the accused.
An FIR u/s 509 of IPC, 6 and 4 of Indecent Representation Of Women Prohibition Act r/w Section 67,72 and 66(3) of IT Act was registered by the police against the petitioner on 18th January 2013.
Since all the offences were bailable, the petitioner was released on a personal bond on 19.01.2013.
According to the petitioner, the jurisdictional police did not intimate him about filing the charge sheet on 28.03.2014. After the filing, the court straightaway issued a non-bailable warrant against him, and he was arrested.
When the petitioner was produced before the Magistrate on 10.01.2014, he was sent to the Central Jail. Immediately after that, the petitioner submitted an application for bail u/s 437 CrPc, which was taken on record on the same day and was listed for the next date of hearing, i.e. 11th April.
On the next date of hearing, the Court rejected the bail application by stating that prima facie, offence u/s 67A of IT Act is made out which is a non-bailable offence.
Case Before the High Court
The High Court observed that criminal courts should not issue non-bailable warrants at the first instance to secure the accused’s attendance, and the Supreme Court has deprecated the same.
Hon’ble High Court placed reliance on Inder Mohan Goswami & Anr vs State of Uttarakhand & Ors where the Court held that non-bailable warrants hamper the accused’s liberty Courts should be cautious when issuing non-bailable warrants.
Reliance was also placed on Pradeep Ram vs the state of Jharkhand where the Supreme Court held that since the jurisdictional police released the petitioner, he was already out on bail when he was arrested for a bailable offence, the petitioner is entitled to bail.
While referring to the case at hand, the Bench remarked that the Magistrate’s procedure is unknown to law.
Judgement and Directions of the Court:-
Hon’ble High Court set aside the revisional order passed by the Trial Magistrate and made the following directions:-
- If the accused is out on bail and the charge sheet is to be filed, the IO should inform the accused about the date and place of filing the charge sheet, and submit the proof to the Court when submitting the charge sheet.
- When the Court receives the charge sheet, it should ensure that the accused was intimated beforehand about filing the charge sheet and should ensure the accused’s presence.
- Criminal Courts should consider bail applications for a bailable offence on the same day instead of postponing it. All criminal courts should follow these guidelines, concluded the High Court.
Title: Lala vs State of Chhattisgarh
Case No.: Crl. Misc Petition No. 65 of 2015
Date of Order:04.01.2021
Coram: Hon’ble Justice Sanjay K Agarwal