Ranjan Yadav @ Pappu Yadav Vs. Cbi Through Its Director  Insc 811 (16 November 2006)
Sinha & Markandey Katju
out of Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 2327 of 2006) MARKANDEY KATJU, J.
appeal under Article 136 of the Constitution of India has been filed against
the impugned judgment and order dated 27.4.2006 of the Patna High Court by
which the appellant's application for bail has been dismissed, but with the
the petitioner has actually remained in custody in connection with the present
case for about 5 years and 7 months as per submission on behalf of petitioner,
hence, considering the spirit of the last order of the Apex Court dated
3.10.05, the trial court is directed to hold trial at least for about three
days in a week on an average so that the examination of prosecution witnesses
may be concluded without any delay preferably within three months. Thereafter,
the court shall ask the defence to submit the list of its wi5tnesses and make
efforts to conclude the trial expeditiously, preferably within six months. If
the trial cannot conclude within the aforesaid period of six months from today,
the petitioner would be at liberty to renew his pray for bail.
this observation, this application for bail is dismissed at this stage."
The appellant is an accused in a case under Sections 302/34/120B IPC read with
Section 27 of the Arms Act. The appellant's bail application had been rejected
earlier on several occasions by the High Court as well as by this Court. The
last order of this Court dated 3.10.2005 states as under:
heard the learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioner, we are of the
opinion that the application for bail may not be entertained at this stage. The
special leave petition is dismissed. However, we would request the learned
Sessions Judge to expedite the trial. If the trial is not completed within a
period of six months from today, it would be open to the petitioner to renew
the bail application. Learned Sessions Judge may consider the desirability of
directing the CBI to examine the important witnesses at an early date and
preferably within a period of four months." We have been informed that now
all the prosecution witnesses have been examined and cross-examined, and only
the defence witnesses have to be examined.
R.K. Jain, learned senior counsel appearing for the appellant stated that 60/70
defence witnesses are proposed to be examined and some more defence witnesses
on behalf of other accused are to be examined.
he submitted that it would take a long time to examine these witnesses. He
submitted that the appellant has been in jail for more than six years and hence
he should be released on bail. Learned counsel also submitted that if
ultimately the appellant is found innocent by the trial court, he would have
undergone a long period of incarceration in jail which would be violative of
Article 21 of the Constitution.
appellant is a 4th term Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and learned counsel
for the appellant has submitted that as per the material on record there
appears to be no prima facie evidence that the appellant is guilty of the
charges of offence.
counsel for the appellant relied on the decision of this Court in Babu Singh
& Ors vs. State of Uttar
Pradesh AIR 1978 SC
527. In paragraph 8 of the said judgment it was observed as under:
liberty, deprived when bail is refused, is too precious a value of our
constitutional system recognized under Art. 21 that the crucial power to negate
it is a great trust exercisable, not casually but judicially, with lively
concern for the cost to the individual and community. To glamorize
impressionistic orders as discretionary may, on occasions, make a litigative
gamble decisive of a fundamental right. After all, personal liberty of an
accused or convict is fundamental, suffering lawful eclipse only in terms of
procedure established by 'law'. The last four words of Art. 21 are the life of
that human right." Learned counsel for the appellant then relied on the
decision of this Court in Kashmira Singh vs. State of Punjab 1977(4) SCC 291.
In paragraph 2 of the said decision it was observed as under:
would indeed be a travesty of justice to keep a person in jail for a period of
five or six years for an offence which is ultimately found not to have been
committed by him. Can the Court ever compensate him for his incarceration which
is found to be unjustified? Would it be just at all for the Court to tell a
person: "We have admitted your appeal because we think you have a prima
facie case, but unfortunately we have no time to hear your appeal for quite a
few years and, therefore, until we hear your appeal, you must remain in jail,
even though you may be innocent?" What confidence would such
administration of justice inspire in the mind of the public? It may quite
conceivably happen, and it has in fact happened in a few cases in this Court,
that a person may serve out his full term of imprisonment before his appeal is
taken up for hearing. Would a judge not be overwhelmed with a feeling of
contrition while acquitting such a person after hearing the appeal? Would it
not be an affront to his sense of justice? Of what avail would the acquittal to
be such a person who had already served out his term of imprisonment or at any
rate a major part of it? It is, therefore, absolutely essential that the
practice which this Court has been following in the past must be reconsidered
and so long as this Court is not in a position to hear the appeal of an accused
within a reasonable period of time, the Court should ordinarily, unless there
are cogent grounds for acting otherwise, release the accused on bail in cases
where special leave has been granted to the accused to appeal against his
conviction and sentence." Learned counsel for the appellant then relied on
the decision of this Court in Bhagirathsinh vs. State of Gujarat 1984 (1) SCC 284, Shaheen Welfare
Association vs. Union of India & Ors. 1996(2) SCC 616, Joginder Kumar vs.
State of U.P. & Ors. 1994(4) SCC 260 etc.
opinion none of the aforesaid decisions can be said to have laid down any
absolute and unconditional rule about when bail should be granted by the Court
and when it should not. It all depends on the facts and circumstances of each
case and it cannot be said there is any absolute rule that because a long
period of imprisonment has expired bail must necessarily be granted.
observed by this Court in State of U.P.
vs. Amarmani Tripathi 2005(8) SCC 21, vide paragraph 18:
is well settled that the matters to be considered in an application for bail
there is any prima facie or reasonable ground to believe that the accused had
committed the offence;
nature and gravity of the charge;
of the punishment in the event of conviction;
of the accused absconding or fleeing, if released on bail;
behaviour, means, position and standing of the accused;
of the offence being repeated;
apprehension of the witnesses being tampered with; and
danger, of course, of justice being thwarted by grant of bail [see Prahlad
Singh Bhati v. NCT, Delhi [2001(4) SCC 280] and Gurcharan
Singh v. State (Delhi Admn.[(1978(1) SCC 118].
a vague allegation that the accused may tamper with the evidence or witnesses
may not be a ground to refuse bail, if the accused is of such character that
his mere presence at large would intimidate the witnesses or if there is
material to show that he will use his liberty to subvert justice or tamper with
the evidence, then bail will be refused. We may also refer to the following
principles relating to grant or refusal of bail stated in Kalyan Chandra Sarkar
v. Rajesh Ranjan [(2004(7) SCC 528 pp. 535-36, para 11]:
The law in regard to grant or refusal of bail is very settled. The court
granting bail should exercise its discretion in a judicious manner and not as a
matter of course. Though at the stage of granting bail a detailed examination
of evidence and elaborate documentation of the merit of the case need not be
undertaken, there is a need to indicate in such orders reasons for prima facie
concluding why bail was being granted particularly where the accused is charged
of having committed a serious offence. Any order devoid of such reasons would
suffer from non-application of mind. It is also necessary for the court
granting bail to consider among other circumstances, the following factors also
before granting bail; they are:
The nature of accusation and the severity of punishment in case of conviction
and the nature of supporting evidence.
Reasonable apprehension of tampering with the witness or apprehension of threat
to the complainant.
Prima facie satisfaction of the court in support of the charge. (See Ram Govind
Upadhyay v. Sudarshan Singh 2002(3) SCC 598 and Puran v. Rambilas 2001 (6) SCC
Court also in specific terms held that (SCC pp.536- 37, para 14):
condition laid down under Section 437 (1)(i) is sine qua non for granting bail
even under Section 439 of the Code. In the impugned order it is noticed that
the High Court has given the period of incarceration already undergone by the
accused and the unlikelihood of trial concluding in the near future as grounds
sufficient to enlarge the accused on bail, in spite of the fact that the
accused stands charged of offences punishable with life imprisonment or even
death penalty. In such cases, in our opinion, the mere fact that the accused
has undergone certain period of incarceration (three years in this case) by
itself would not entitled the accused to be enlarged on bail, nor the fact that
the trial is not likely to be concluded, in the near future either by itself or
coupled with the period of incarceration would be sufficient for enlarging the
appellant on bail when the gravity of the offence alleged is severe and there
are allegations of tampering with the witnesses by the accused during the
period he was on bail." (emphasis supplied) The above decisions have
referred to the decision of this Court in the appellant's own case Kalyan
Chandra Sarkar vs. Rajesh Ranjan @ Pappu Yadav & anr. 2004(7) SCC 528 in
which it was clearly held that the mere fact that the accused has undergone a
long period of incarceration by itself would not entitle him to be enlarged on
further be mentioned that in another case of the appellant Kalyan Chandra Sarkar
vs. Rajesh Ranjan @ Pappu Yadav & anr. 2005(3) SCC 284 where he sought
bail, it was observed by this Court as under:
the normal course one would have expected an accused whose bail has been
cancelled and who was intending to make an application for grant of bail to
behave in a manner not to give any room for the prosecution to contend that he
has been misusing the facilities available to him in law while he is in jail.
seems, it is not the attitude of the respondent.
after cancellation of bail by this Court the respondent had moved a fresh
application before the High Court for grant of bail which came to be allowed by
the order of the High Court dated 21-9-2004 and pursuant to the said order of
bail the respondent came to be released from jail. The said order of the High
Court granting bail was challenged before this Court by the complainant and the
investigating agency (CBI) but what happened in between is worth noticing. On 26-9-2004 when the respondent was out of jail because of the
bail granted by the High Court, he instead of getting himself treated for the
ailment which he was complaining of, it is alleged that he was hosting a party
for his co-prisoners in the jail late in the night of that day. While the
authorities in the reports submitted pursuant to the directions issued by this
Court did not admit that a party was given by the accused on 26-9-2004 they did
admit that between 9.30 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. on that night the respondent did unauthorizedly
visit the jail contrary to all restrictions on the entry to the jail under the
Jail Manual. A complaint in regard to this unauthorized entry of the respondent
to the prohibited areas of the jail premises is registered and based on the
direction issued by the High Court of Patna, an investigation is going on in
this regard and some of the jail authorities have been transferred.
On 1-10-2004 this Court while entertaining the appeal of the
complaint against the grant of bail by the High Court directed the respondent
to surrender to custody forthwith.
to which he was taken back to custody.
also come on record that while in judicial custody the respondent was using
cell phone which was seized from him and he was closely interacting with
hardcore criminals who were undergoing jail sentence or are undertrial
1 while in judicial custody has been accused of hatching a conspiracy to murder
one Dimple Mehta in relation whereto a first information report being Purnea Sadar
PS Case No. 159 of 2004 has been lodged on 28-9-2004 under Sections 302/120-B/34 IPC and
Section 27 of the Arms Act.
appears from the order-sheet dated 25-2-2003 of the Court of Additional Sessions
Judge, XI Patna that the informant Shri Kalyan Chandra Sarkar had been given
threats by veteran criminals and, thus, the Senior SP of Patna as well as SP
was directed to make proper security arrangement for him and his family
Para 3.12 of the report submitted by the
Central Bureau of Investigation in response to this Court's order dated 2-12-
2004 is as under:
Investigation further reveals that Shri Dipak Kumar Singh, IAS, the Inspector
General of Prisons had on 1-11-2004, forwarded a report of the Special Branch
dated 30-10-2004, that Shri Rajesh Ranjan @ Pappu Yadav was meeting several
visitors in the Administrative Block of Beur Jail (not the specified meeting
place for visitors to the jail) and more significantly, that several such
visitors, who entered the jail under the pretext of meeting him (Shri Pappu Yadav)
were actually meeting other dreaded hardcore criminals lodged in the jail. The
Inspector General of Prisons had also urged the Jail Superintendent to allow
interviews with prisoners in strict accordance with the provisions of the Jail
Manual." It is now beyond any controversy that such visits by a large
number of persons inside the jail are in violation of the provisions of the
Bihar Jail Manual and in particular Rules 623, 626-628 thereof. Even upon his
election as a Member of Parliament from Madhepura Constituency he was not
entitled to have such visitors having regard to the Special Rules for Division
1 Prisoners, Rule 1000 which permits interviews only once every fortnight and
Rule 1001 which debars political matters being included in the conversation.
These Rules also stand violated.
the material recorded hereinabove shows that the respondent has absolutely no
respect for rule of law nor is he in any manner afraid of the consequences of
his unlawful acts.
is clear from the fact that some of the acts of the respondent recorded
hereinabove have been committed even when his application for grant of bail is
material on record also shows that the jail authorities at Beur are not in a
position to control the illegal activities of this respondent for whatever
reasons they may be." The above observations clearly imply that the
appellant's conduct has been such that he does not deserve bail.
counsel for the appellant further relied on the decision of this Court in Ranjitsing
Brahmajeetsing Sharma vs. State of Maharashtra & anr. 2005 (5) SCC 294. In paragraph 35 of the said
decision it was observed as under:
of innocence is a human right.(See Narendra Singh vs. State of M.P.,[(2004(10) SCC 699 para 31].
21 in view of its expansive meaning not only protects life and liberty but also
envisages a fair procedure. Liberty of a
person should not ordinarily be interfered with unless there exists cogent
grounds therefore. Sub-section (4) of Section 21 must be interpreted keeping in
view the aforementioned salutary principles. Giving an opportunity to the
Public Prosecutor to oppose an application for release of an accused appears to
be reasonable restriction but clause (b) of sub-section (4) of Section 21 must
be given a proper meaning." Learned counsel for the appellant has
repeatedly referred to Article 21 of the Constitution and on that basis has
submitted that the appellant should be released on bail particularly since he
has already been imprisoned for more than six years.
of the opinion that while it is true that Article 21 is of great importance
because it enshrines the fundamental right to individual liberty, but at the
same time a balance has to be struck between the right to individual liberty
and the interest of society. No right can be absolute, and reasonable
restrictions can be placed on them. While it is true that one of the considerations
in deciding whether to grant bail to an accused or not is whether he has been
in jail for a long time, the Court has also to take into consideration other
facts and circumstances, such as the interest of the society.
been stated that the appellant has been a Member of Parliament on four
occasions. In our opinion, this is wholly irrelevant. The law is no respecter
of persons, and is the same for every one.
perusal of the FIR itself shows that it is a triple murder case, and the
incident was committed in broad day light with sophisticated weapons. It is
true that the appellant was not named in the FIR, but it has come in the
statement before the Magistrate under Section 164 Cr.P.C. of one Ranjan Tiwari
that he and other assailants had been hired by the appellant to commit this
not inclined to comment on the veracity or otherwise of the statement of Ranjan
Tiwari and other witnesses as it may influence the trial, but looking at the
allegations against the appellant both in the statement of Ranjan Tiwari and
other witnesses, we are of the opinion on the facts and circumstances of the
case, that this is certainly not a case for grant of bail to the appellant,
particularly since the prosecution witnesses have been examined and now the defence
witnesses alone have to be examined. It would, in our opinion, be wholly
inappropriate to grant bail when not only the investigation is over but even
the trial is partly over, and the allegations against the appellant are
conduct of the appellant as noted in the decision in Kalyan Chandra Sarkar vs.
Rajesh Ranjan @ Pappu Yadav & anr. 2005(3) SCC 284 (quoted above), is also
such that we are not inclined to exercise our discretion under Article 136 for
granting bail to the appellant.
Addl. Solicitor General, Shri Amarendra Sharan, submitted that the appellant
himself was at least partly responsible for the delay in the conclusion of the
trial because most of the prosecution witnesses were cross- examined by his
counsel for several days, mostly be asking irrelevant questions, and this was
deliberate dilatory tactics used for delaying the trial so that on that basis
the appellant may pray for bail.
not necessary for us to go into this aspect of the matter because we have
already noted above that this is certainly not a case for grant of bail to the
appellant as the facts and circumstances of the case disclose.
counsel for the appellant then submitted that since the appellant is not on
bail, he cannot conduct his defence effectively. In our opinion if this
argument is to be accepted, then logically in every case bail has to be
granted. We cannot accept such a contention.
facts and circumstances of the case, we find no merit in this appeal. The
appeal is accordingly dismissed. We, however, make it clear that no further
application for bail will be considered in this case by any Court, as already a
large number of bail applications have been rejected earlier, both by the High
Court and this Court.
we dismiss this appeal, we direct that the trial court shall ensure that the defence
witnesses are examined on a day-to-day basis in accordance with a fixed time
schedule so that the trial is completed as expeditiously as possible and the
judgment is delivered soon thereafter. No costs.