Important Judgments of Supreme Court on Bail in 2023: A Comprehensive Overview

In 2023, the Supreme Court of India made several significant rulings regarding bail. Here are some of the key judgments:

State through CBI v. T. Gangi Reddy @ Yerra Gnagi Reddy: The Court held that default bail can be cancelled on merits after the presentation of a chargesheet, especially if it reveals the commission of a non-bailable crime.

SC sought response from YSR Congress Party MP Y S Avinash Reddy and the CBI on a plea moved by the daughter of late MP Y S Vivekananda Reddy, challenging a Telangana High Court order that granted him anticipatory bail in the murder case of the former parliamentarian.

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Vivekananda Reddy murder case: SC issues notice on plea challenging anticipatory bail to YSR Cong MP

Ritu Chhabaria v. Union of India: It was observed that filing an incomplete chargesheet without completing the investigation does not extinguish the accused’s right to default bail.

A Bench comprising Justice Krishna Murari and Justice CT Ravikumar passed the Judgment on writ petition filed by Ritu Chhabaria, of the Radius Group. 

Section 167 of the CrPC deals with the issue of default bail. This means that if the investigation is not completed within a period of 60 or 90 days (depending upon the nature of the offence), the accused person is entitled to be released on bail.

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Right to Default Bail is Not Extinguished on Filing of Incomplete Charge Sheet Without Completing Investigation: SC

Directorate of Enforcement v. Manpreet Singh Talwar: This case extended the interim order directing that any application for default bail based on the ‘Ritu Chhabaria’ judgment should be deferred.

Trial courts and high courts can consider default bail pleas in criminal cases on the ground of non-filing of charge sheets within the stipulated period of 60 or 90 days, the Supreme Court said on Friday, clarifying that they need not rely on its recent Ritu Chhabaria judgement on the matter.

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Courts can hear pleas seeking default bail over non-filing of charge sheets: SC

Enforcement Directorate v. Kapil Wadhawan: The Supreme Court clarified that the day of remand should be included when considering a claim for default bail.

The CBI on Tuesday assailed in the Supreme Court the statutory bail granted by courts below to former Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL) promoters Kapil Wadhawan and his brother Dheeraj in connection with a multi-crore rupees bank loan scam case.

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CBI opposes statutory bail granted to DHFL’s Wadhawans in loan scam case

Directorate of Enforcement v. M. Gopal Reddy: This judgment reiterated that the conditions under Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act are applicable to anticipatory bail applications.

The bench of Justices M.R. Shah and C.T. Ravikumar was dealing with the appeal challenging the judgment and order passed by the Telangana High Court by which, the High Court has allowed the said bail application and has granted the anticipatory bail in favour of respondent No. 1 in connection with case registered for the offence of money laundering under Section 3 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 and punishable under Section 4 of the PMLA.

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Supreme Court Rules That Section 45 PMLA Conditions Are Appliacable to Anticipatory Bail Pleas in Money Laundering Offences

In Re Policy Strategy for Grant of Bail: The Court emphasized that if bail bonds are not furnished within a month, trial courts may consider relaxing the conditions suo motu.

Talat Sanvi v. State of Jharkhand: The Court observed that interim victim compensation cannot be imposed as a condition for bail.

The bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay S. Oka stated that the High Court’s direction to the accused for deposit of compensation for the legal heirs of the deceased (victim), as a condition for the bail cannot be sustained.

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Can Court Direct Accused to pay Interim Compensation to Victim as Condition of Anticipatory Bail? Supreme Court Answers 

Directorate of Enforcement v. Aditya Tripathi: It was held that an accused is not entitled to bail in a money laundering case merely because a chargesheet has been filed for the predicate offenses.

Teesta Atul Setalvad v. State of Gujarat: The Court noted that an accused not filing a petition to quash an FIR/Chargesheet has no relevance in deciding a bail application.

A three-judge bench of Justices B R Gavai, A S Bopanna and Dipankar Datta set aside the order of the Gujarat High Court rejecting her plea for regular bail.

The top court said a charge sheet has been filed in the case against Setalvad and her custodial interrogation is not necessary.

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SC grants regular bail to Teesta Setalvad in post-Godhra riots case, sets aside Gujarat HC order

Pratibha Manchanda v. State of Haryana: In this case, the Court emphasized the importance of considering the gravity of the offense and its impact on society when dealing with anticipatory bail applications.

Ramesh Kumar v. State NCT of Delhi: The Court disapproved of the practice of directing the deposit of an amount as a condition for granting anticipatory bail in cheating cases.

The bench of Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and Dipankar Datta stated that “it is considered appropriate to remind the high courts and the sessions courts not to be unduly swayed by submissions advanced by counsel on behalf of the accused in the nature of undertakings to keep in deposit/repay any amount while seeking bail under section 438 of the Cr. PC. and incorporating a condition in that behalf for deposit/payment as a pre-requisite for grant of bail.”

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Supreme Court Deprecates Practice of Imposing Pre-Condition of Paying Alleged Cheated Amount to Get Anticipatory Bail

Rohit Bishnoi v. State of Rajasthan: This ruling stressed that bail orders must be backed by reasons considering vital aspects of the case.

Vernon v. State of Maharashtra: The Court held that a bail-restricting clause does not denude a Constitutional Court’s jurisdiction to test if continued detention would breach Article 21 of the Constitution.

The two-judge bench comprising Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia noted that the prosecution had attempted to establish the appellants’ association with a designated terrorist organization through third-party communications. However, there was no evidence of the appellants’ actual involvement in any terrorist act or credible conspiracy to commit offenses listed under the 1967 Act. The bench emphasized that participating in seminars alone does not constitute an offense under the bail-restricting sections of the Act.

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Participating In Seminars Alone Doesn’t Constitute Offence Under Bail-Restricting Sections Of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act: SC

In Re Policy Strategy for Grant of Bail: The Court advised that courts should impose realistic conditions of bail considering the economic and social position of the undertrial prisoners.

These judgments reflect the Supreme Court’s nuanced approach to bail, balancing the rights of the accused with the interests of justice and society

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