The Supreme Court today has set aside an order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court which had imposed a condition to deposit Rs 20 lakh for grant of anticipatory bail to applicants accused of the offence of forgery, cheating under sections of the Indian Penal Code. (Ravi Kumar Poddar & Anr. Vs The State of Madhya Pradesh)
A vacation bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and M.R. Shah said, “Since the High Court has not considered the merits of the application for anticipatory bail, but merely directed that bail granted subject to payment of Rs 20 lakh, the impugned order of the High Court granting anticipatory bail on condition inter alia of deposit of Rs 20 lakh is set aside.”
“The High Court is requested to consider the prayer for bail afresh at the earliest preferably within a week,” said the Apex Court.
The petitioner submitted before the Supreme Court that they had not voluntarily offered to pay Rs 20 lakh as a condition for grant of bail. The Top Court was hearing the SLP (Crl.) filed against the decision of the Gwalior bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court which on April 22, 2021, had granted the anticipatory bail on the submissions made by the counsel for the accused/applicants (as recorded in the Courts order) that they are ready to deposit the amount of Rs 20 lakh more within seven days and for the remaining amount they are even ready and willing to give surety.
As per the facts available from the High Court order, it had recorded, “it is submitted by the counsel for the applicants that the applicants have been falsely implicated in this case and they have not committed any offence in any manner. It is argued that it was the civil dispute arising out of the business transaction which has been given the criminal taste. It is submitted that out of the total amount to be paid to the complainant as is reflected in the FIR Rs 1,04,06,603 (One crore, four lakh, six thousand, six hundred and three only), an amount of Rs 36,18,106 (Thirty six lakh, eighteen thousand, one hundred six only) has already been received by them as is reflected in the document annexure A/3 dated 11.2.2021 i.e. notice given by complainant to the present applicants. It is submitted that they are ready to deposit Rs 20 lakh more within seven days and for remaining amount, they are event ready and willing to give bank surety. The applicants are first offenders having no criminal history and owing to this covid pandemic scenario, as the business are adversely affected, they are not being able to fulfill their business obligations.”
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Following which the High Court had directed, “Considering the overall facts and circumstances of the case and without commenting upon the merits of the case and subject to deposit of Rs 20 lakh within one week and for the remaining amount, bank surety be furnished within fifteen days from today and subject to verification of the fact that the applicants are first offenders having no criminal history, this court deems it appropriate to allow this application. In the event of arrest, the applicants are directed to be released on bail on furnishing a surety bond in the sum of Rs 50,000 each with one solvent surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of arresting officer.”