Important Judgment of SC on Bail Cancellation: Subsequent Addition of Serious Offences is a Ground For Bail Cancellation

The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that bail can be cancelled if serious offences are subsequently added to FIR.

The bench of Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli was dealing with the appeal challenging the orders passed by the Bombay High Court allowing the anticipatory bail application filed by respondent No.2/accused.

In this case, The appellant/prosecutrix is a Model by profession. She filed a complaint with P.S. MIDC, Mumbai against respondent No.2/accused alleging that the respondent No.2/accused, a businessman, who lured her under the garb of offering her some modelling assignments and then forced himself upon her and raped her in a hotel room where she was staying.

It is the case of the appellant/prosecutrix that to favour the respondent No. 2/accused, the police had intentionally removed a vital portion of her statement while recording the FIR and had only mentioned the offences under Sections 354, 354-B and 506 IPC.

The appellant alleged that the police deliberately did not take the appellant/prosecutrix for a medical examination even on her alleging commission of rape by respondent No.2/accused.

High Court to grant interim protection to respondent No. 2/accused.

Supreme Court referred to the case of Masroor v. State of Uttar Pradesh And Another where it was observed that “courts ought to refrain from mechanically granting bail and the absence of relevant considerations will make such an order susceptible to interference.”

The bench after referring to a few judgments observed that the recourse available to an accused in a situation where after grant of bail, further cognizable and non-bailable offences are added to the FIR, is for him to surrender and apply afresh for bail in respect of the newly added offences. The investigating agency is also entitled to move the Court for seeking the custody of the accused by invoking the provisions of 437(5)33 and 439(2)34 Cr.P.C., falling under Chapter XXXIIII of the Statute that deals with provisions relating to bails and bonds.

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Further, the Supreme Court opined that the contention of the respondent No. 2/accused that the appellant/prosecutrix had been improving her version in the supplementary statements was also considered and rejected and it was observed that even if the said statements were to be overlooked, there was sufficient prima facie material in the FIR to have made out an offence under Section 376, IPC.

The bench stated that “……………….despite the appellant/prosecutrix having filed an application for intervention in the petition for anticipatory bail moved by respondent No.2/accused before the High Court, she was not afforded a hearing. At least a perusal of the second impugned order does not reflect the said position. No doubt, the State was present and was represented in the said proceedings, but the right of the prosecutrix could not have been whittled down for this reason alone. In a crime of this nature where ordinarily, there is no other witness except for the prosecutrix herself, it was all the more incumbent for the High Court to have lent its ear to the appellant……………”

Supreme Court noted that the appellant/prosecutrix having been denied a meaningful hearing when the first impugned order of anticipatory bail granted in favour of the respondent No. 2/accused was confirmed by the second impugned order, is an additional factor that has prevailed with the Court to interfere in the impugned orders.

In view of the above, the bench quashed the impugned orders and directed the Registry to take immediate steps to redact the name of the appellant/prosecutrix from the records.

Case Title: Ms. X v. The State of Maharashtra & Anr. 

Bench: Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli 

Case No.: CRIMINAL APPEALS NO. 822-823 OF 2023

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