Dutt Vs. State of Maharashtra  INSC 567 (16 October 1995)
G.N. (J) Ray, G.N. (J) Singh N.P. (J) Hansaria B.L. (J)
1995 SCC (6) 189 JT 1995 (7) 378 1995 SCALE (5)759
O R D
appeal has been filed against an order dated 11.9.1995 passed by the Designated
Court constituted under the Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention)
Act, 1987 (hereinafter referred to as 'TADA') rejecting the prayer for bail
made on behalf of the appellant, who is facing trial for offences under TADA
and Arms Act. The prayer for bail made on behalf of the appellant had been
rejected earlier by the Designated
appears that a fresh application for bail was made before the Designated Court
It appears that a freesh application for bail was made before the Designated
Court on 28.8.1995 Primarily on the grounds:- (1) Pursuant to direction given
by a Constitution Bench of this Court in the case of Kartar Singh vs. State of
Punjab, (1994) 3 SCC 569, Screening/Review Committees constituted by the State
Government as well as by the Central Government had examined the cases of
accused persons in custody for offences under TADA, including that of the
appellant in connection with the Bombay bomb blast case.
review of the cases of such accused persons including that of the appellant,
the Chief Public Public Prosecutor had filed a petition before the Designated Court on 24.8.1995 saying that the State
Government had no objection to the 12 accused named in the said petition
including the appellant, being relesed on bail.
to Mr. Sibal, who appeared on behalf of the appellant, because of the aforesaid
developments the appellant should have been released on bail irrespective of
the fact that the trial is still pending.
case of Kartar Singh(supra) the Constitution Bench said in paragraph 265:
order to ensure higher level of scrutiny and applicability of TADA Act, there
must be a Screening Committee or a Review Committee constituted by the Central
Government consisting of the Home Secretary, Law Secretary and other concerned
Secretaries of the various Departments to review all the TADA cases instituted
by the Central Government as well as to have a quarterly administrative review,
reviewing the States' action in the application of the TADA provisions in the
respective States, and the incidental questions arising in relation thereto.
Similarly, there must be a Screening or Review Committee at the State level
constituted by the respective States consisting of the Chief Secretary, Home
Secretary, Law Secretary, Director-General of Police (Law and Order) and other
officials as the respective Government may think it fit, to review the action
of the enforcing authorities under the Act and screen the cases registerd under
the provisions of the Act and decide the further course of action in every
matter and so on." It was pointed out that in view of the direction given
by this Court in Kartar Singh's case, the Designated Court itself in its order
dated 24.4.1995 observed that there was much substance in the submission made
by the learned Advocates appearing for the accused that it was obligatory on
the part of the State as well as the Central Government to place their case
before the Review Committee so constituted and obtain its report so that the
Public Prosecutor could act on it. Thereafter the Maharashtra State Review
Committee, after examining the cases of different accused persons in the Bombay bomb blast submitted its report to
the Central Review Committee constituted pursuant to the direction given in Kartar
Singh's case. From the copy of the minutes of the Central Review Committee, it
appears that the committee consisting of the Home Secretary, the Law Secretary
and the Director of CBI, examined the cases of 134 accused persons of Bombay bomb blast case on different dates
between 27.6.1995 and 4.8.1995. The Committee after considering the
recommendations of the Maharashtra State Review Committee and other materials
in connection with different accused persons, was of the opinion that the Chief
Public Prosecutor should bring to the notice of the Designated Court, the facts
and circumstances in respect of different accused persons so that the Court
could consider granting bail in deserving cases.
9.8.1995 the Designated Court in its order said that it was proper on the part
of the Public Prosecutor to seek instructions and file an application before
the said court mentioning the names of the accused persons and the reasons on
the basis f Which the State had no objection for granting them bail so that the
court can reconsider their cases and grant bail on the ground that the Public
Prosecutor had no objection in granting them bail as a matter of policy adopted
by the State.
investigation of the Bombay bomb blast case had been taken up
by the CBI, the Chief Special Public Prosecutor on basis of the instructions
received from CBI and the State Government filed the aforesaid petition on
24.8.1995. In the said petition the accused persons in the Bombay bomb blast case have been put in
three categories namely
Who had already been granted bail or discharged or had been absconding.
Who had either been named by the two approvers or those who had absconded or
were likely to abscond or tamper with evidence.
Accused persons who could be released on bail. The names of three categories of
the accused were mentioned in the Annexures enclosed to the said petition. In
Annexure No. G, the names of 12 accused persons were given including the name
of appellant in respect of whom it was stated that they could be released on
25.9.1995, this Court while issuing notice to the State Government gave a
direction to file an affidavit The State Government gave a direction to file an
affidavit indicating Whether the cases of the accused were specifically
considered by the CBI on the question of granting bail and as to whether on the
basis of instruction received from CBI, a petition was filed by the Special
Public Prosecutor on 24.8.1995 before the Designated Court.
affidavit has been filed on behalf of the respondent which has been sworn by
the joint Director & Special Inspector General of Police, CBI, Special Task
Force, New Delhi. After giving the background of the
case, it has been stated in the said affidavit that in view of the order dated
9.8.1995 passed by the Designated Court saying that it would be proper on the
part of the learned Public Prosecutor to seek instructions and file an
application before the Court mentioning the names of the accused persons and
the reasons on the basis of which the State had no objection for granting the
names of the accused persons and the reasons on the basis of which the State
had no objection for granting bail to them, the CBI examined in consultation with
the Bombay Police cases of the accused persons who were in custody in
connection with the Bombay bomb blast and classified them into the categories
to arrive at a list of accused for whom no objection to release them on bail
could be filed before the Court. Thereafter it has been stated:
the CBI after carefully, scrutinizing the cases of all the accused in custody,
took a policy decision after consulting the Bombay Police that the accused
listed under Category No. III can be released on bail and instructed the Chief
Public Prosecutor to bring it to the notice of Designated Court, that the
Prosecution has no objection to grant bail to these persons. Accordingly, no
objection for release on bail on the bail applications No. 19 to 30 of 1995 filed
by these 12 accused listed under Category No. III is given by the CBI."
Mr. Sibal submitted that as the cases of the appellant has been reviewed by the
Central Review Committee. and has been examined by the CBI in terms of the
direction given by the Constitution Bench of this Court in Kartar Singh's case
(supra), the Designated Court should have directed release of the appellant on
bail and there was no occasion to reject the prayer for bail on the grounds on
which the said prayer had been rejected earlier. Mr. Altaf Ahmad, the learned
Additional Solicitor General, who appeared for the State of Maharashtra, also
took the same stand.
the aforesaid narration, it is clear that the fact-situation in which the
present appeal is being examined is entirely different from that with which
this Court was seizedwhen on an earlier occasion, this very appellant was
before this Court praying for his release on bail, in this Court praying for
his release on bail, in this very case.
what was stated then in the case of Sanjay Dutt vs. State through C.B.I.,
Bombay (1994) 6 SCC 86, has ceased to be relevant.
submitted by Mr.Sibal that as the case of the appellant had been scrutinied by
Mr. Siball that as the case of the appellant had been scrutinised by the
Central Review Committee and the C.B.I pursuant to the direction of the
Constitution Bench of this Court in Kartar Singh's case (supra) following which
the Chief Special Public Prosecutor was directed to file the petition praying
that accused persons named in category III be released on bail, clause (b) of
sub-section (8) of Section 20 of TADA is not attracted.
view, as the whole exercise of the Central Review Committee was pursuant to the
direction of this Court in Kartar Singh's case (supra) and the Chief Special
Public Prosecutor had filed the petition in question to implement the decision
taken by that Committee, supplemented by the decision taken by that Committee,
supplemented by the decision of the CBI, such, a petition did not merit rejection.
The learned Designated
Court did not examine
the matter in proper perspective. The categorisation of the accused persons in
three categories being founded on relevant factors, we are satisfed that the
classification was rational. The name of the appellant being in category III,
we order for his release on bail.
appellant shall be released on bail, on his furnishing a bond of Rs. 5 (Five ) Lakhs
with two sureties of like amount to the satisfaction of the Designated Court.
appellant shall surrender his passport immediately after release. He would not
hamper the on going investigation, tamper the evidence, threaten or influence
the witnesses. On the happening of any one of these contingencies to the
satisfaction of the Designated
Court, his bail shall
be cancelled. Further, he shall appear before the Designated Court as and when directed. He shall also
comply with any other direction of the said Court.
appeal is allowed accordingly.