The High Court should not foreclose itself from the exercise of the power when a citizen has been arbitrarily deprived of their personal liberty in an excess of state power: Justice DY Chandrachud
New Delhi (ILNS): The Supreme Court today reiterated that Republic TV Editor Arnab Goswami will not be arrested till the pendency of proceedings before high court in terms of its November 11 order. The court also added that even if the high court were to decide adversely, Goswami and his two associates will have a further protection for four weeks.
The court was today announcing the reason for its earlier verdict in the case where it had granted bail. The court said that the evaluation of the FIR against Goswami prima facie does not establish any abetment to suicide charge against him.
The top court said that the Bombay High Court failed to take a prima facie view of the FIR, the nature of accusation and the level of charge against Goswami and erred in not granting bail.
Regarding the prima facie evaluation of the FIR lodged by Maharashtra Police about alleged non-payment of dues, driving the businessman to commit suicide, does not establish prima facie a charge of abetment against Goswami.
Justice DY Chandrachud said: “We have perused over Section 306 of IPC. It cannot be said that the appellants had abetted the suicide of the head of the architectural firm. The HC said the justification to quash has to be exercised carefully.
“The ingredient of the offence was not established. The HC has failed to exercise its powers under Section 482 CrPC and thus failed to exercise power under Article 226 of the constitution.
“If the HC was carrying a prima facie evaluation then it could not have seen that there was no nexus between FIR and Section 306 IPC.”
Justice Chandrachud also said: “The appellants are residents of India and don’t post flight risk, nor can they tamper with evidence. We have also added a section on human liberty and role of courts: Section 482 recognizes powers of the HC to give effect to other provisions of CrPC.
“It needs to be seen whether the accused can tamper with evidence, or whether the accused can flee, or whether ingredients of offence is made out along with interests of state. These principles have emerged over time. Here the case is about liberty of a citizen,” he added.
The judge continued: “Due enforcement of criminal law cannot be obstructed by accused opting strategies and the court must be circumspect in exercising powers under Section 482 Crpc. The court recognizes inherent power, but it must aid the protecting liberty and the concept of liberty runs through the fabric of the constitution. Misuse of criminal law is something that the HC should be alive to.”
The doors of this Court cannot be closed to a citizen who is able to establish prima facie that the instrumentality of the State is being weaponized for using the force of criminal law. Our courts must ensure that they continue to remain the first line of defense against the deprivation of the liberty of citizens. Deprivation of liberty even for a single day is one day too many. We must always be mindful of the deeper systemic implications of our decisions: Justice DY Chandrachud.
The Apex Court reiterated, While considering an application for the grant of bail under Article 226 in a suitable case, the High Court must consider the settled factors which emerge from the precedents of this Court. These factors can be summarized as follows:
(i) The nature of the alleged offence, the nature of the accusation and the severity of the punishment in the case of a conviction;
(ii) Whether there exists a reasonable apprehension of the accused tampering with the witnesses or being a threat to the complainant or the witnesses;
(iii) The possibility of securing the presence of the accused at the trial or the likelihood of the accused fleeing from justice;
(iv) The antecedents of and circumstances which are peculiar to the accused;
(v) Whether prima facie the ingredients of the offence are made out, on the basis of the allegations as they stand, in the FIR; and
(vi) The significant interests of the public or the State and other similar considerations.
Read the Judgment here;24646-2020-33-1501-24858-Judgement-27-Nov-2020