Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Delhi High Court grants bail to 8 men involved in the attack on Arvind Kejriwal’s official residence

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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted bail to the eight accused allegedly involved in the attack on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence.

Accused Sunny, Raju, Neeraj, Pradeep, Naveen, Bablu, Chandrakant Jitender were granted bail by a single-judge bench of Justice Asha Menon.

The eight people are accused in the same FIR dated 30th March, 2022 registered under Sections 186/188/353/332/ 143/147/149 IPC and Section 3 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984, at Police Station Civil Lines, Delhi.

The FIR was registered when a protest was held near the residence of the Delhi CM despite the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Delhi declining permission to the applicants to hold such a protest. It is also the case in the FIR that the accused had jumped police barricades installed at the CM residence and the same were broken and an attempt was made to force entry into the residence. Police officials, it is claimed, were obstructed and criminal force used on them and a few of them had sustained injuries.

The High Court further noted that the Duty Metropolitan Magistrate had dismissed the bail applications of the accused persons on 31st March, 2022 and had remanded them to judicial custody. Similarly, the bail applications filed before the Additional Sessions Judge were also dismissed vide order dated 4th April, 2022.

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It is observed by the High Court that arguments have been centralized on the noncompliance of Section 41(1)(a) of the Cr.P.C. A Single Judge of the High Court has underlined the need for strict adherence to the directions in Arnesh Kumar (supra) and the issuance of notice under Section 41A Cr.P.C. and has held that not only should the notice be issued, but the notice must also be in the format prescribed and be a mere intimation.

“It has been the endeavour of the State to convince this Court that the arrest has been under Section 41(1)(b) Cr.P.C. However, it is clear that there has been no adherence to the requirements of this Section, at the time of the arrest of the applicants”.

Further, the Court observed that on reading of Section 41(1)(b) CrPC would show that the police can act against a person and effect his arrest when a reasonable complaint has been made or credible information has been received or reasonable suspicion exists that he has committed a cognizable offence punishable with imprisonment for less than 7 years or may extend to 7 years with or without fine. But additionally, the Police Officer has to be “satisfied” of the “existence” of other conditions, namely, that he has reason to believe on the basis of such complaint/information or suspicion that the person had committed the said offence.

Secondly, he must be “satisfied” that such arrest was “necessary” to prevent such a person from committing any further offence or for proper investigation of the offence or to prevent such person from causing the evidence of the offence to disappear or tamper with such evidence in any manner. The further conditions justifying arrest would be to prevent the person from making any inducement or threat to any person acquainted with the facts or that his presence in the court whenever required cannot be ensured. Most importantly, the Police Officer is to record, while making such an arrest, his reasons in writing. “There is no such written document where the Investigating Officer has recorded his satisfaction on the existence of the conditions aforementioned and as provided for under Section 41(1)(b) CrPC.”

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There is no dispute that others have been issued notices under Section 41A Cr.P.C., pursuant to which, they are joining investigations. Thus, the continued detention of the applicants in judicial custody is clearly not required for proper investigation of the offences, the Bench held.

With regard to the damage caused to public property the Court said that it cannot be at any stage certainly overlooked, but the facts are to be considered to reckon what damage has been caused. Here, the allegations are that the protestors have vandalised some of the CCTV cameras and an arm of a boom barrier and had also smeared paint on the main gate of the CM Residence. There is no allegation of damage to public property through arson and fire or other means on a scale that would clearly be a far more serious matter than what has been alleged against the applicants. The applicants are mostly in their twenties except for three who are older.

In the totality of the facts and circumstances of the case, the Court therefore allows the bail applications and grants bail to all the applicants on each of them furnishing a personal bond and a surety bond each for a sum of Rs 35,000 to the satisfaction of the Ilaqa Metropolitan Magistrate and subject to the some conditions.

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