Criminal proceedings cannot be used to realize disputed dues: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has reiterated that criminal proceedings cannot be used for realization of disputed dues.

A Division Bench comprising Hon’ble Justice Indira Banerjee and Hon’ble Justice Krushna Murari observed that a criminal court, exercising jurisdiction to grant anticipatory bail/ regular bail, cannot be expected to act as recovery agent to realize dues of the complainant.

In the instant case, Jharkhand High Court granted bail to the accused, the only condition imposed by the Court was to deposit a Bank Guarantee of Rs. 53,60,000 in the Trial Court.

However, the Apex Court noted that disputes of the case were civil in nature, and the complainant had also filed a civil suit for specific performance of the alleged agreement that was executed by the accused of the sale of property in Himachal Pradesh that was pending adjudication.

In this context, the Hon’ble Apex Court opined that the High Court erred in making the bank guarantee a bail condition.

The Court relied on Shyam Singh vs State where it was held that it is open for Courts to refuse or grant bail, but they cannot say that the offence was committed even at the grant of bail any direction for repayment is unwarranted and onerous.

Lastly, the Court ruled that a criminal court exercising its jurisdiction for bail grant cannot be expected to act as a recovery agent and that too, without a trial.

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