K.K. Jerath Vs. Union Territory, Chandigarh & Ors  INSC 183 (27 March 1998)
T. Thomas, S.
S. Rajendra, Babu. J.
petitioner filed a petition under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code
for grant of bail apprehending his arrest. The High Court which had granted an
interim relief earlier on the said petition, dismissed the same subsequently.
Hence this petition challenging the said order.
search had been conducted at the house of the petitioner on 20th November, 1997 by the Income Tax department and
certain amount of cash, gold ornaments and silver-ware were found. It appears
that investigation had been commenced on the basis of certain information by
the CBI. The Union Territory of Chandigarh took note of the facts having found
from the material available with the authorities in the shape of certain
statements of account and other information desired to proceed against the
petitioner under Sections 13(1)(a) (b)(c)(d) sub-Section (2) of the Prevention
of Corruption Act, 1988. The High Court noticed that the scope of the two
investigation shone by the CBI and the other by the Administration of Union
Territory being different there is no bar for the latter to register a separate
FIR and investigate the matter and on that basis rejected the contention
advanced on behalf of the petitioner that there cannot be two parallel
investigations on the same set of facts by two different agencies. It was also
taken note of by the High Court that investigation agency should be given free
hand to interrogate the petitioner and on the other hand if he is released on
bail, his acts might impede the investigation even resulting in tampering with
the prosecution evidence directly or indirectly. The High Court is also of the
view that the assurance that the petitioner would cooperate with the
investigating agency in the interrogation would be a matter of mere ritual and
custodial interposition would be more appropriate in such a matter.
R.K. Jain, learned senior counsel for the petitioner relying upon the decision
of this Court in Joginder Kumar vs. State of U.P. & Ors. 1994(4) SCC. 260,
Shri Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia & Ors. vs. State of Punjab 1980 (2) SCC 565. Nandini Satpathy
vs. P.L. Dani & Anr. 1978 (2) SCC 424, and Babu Singh & Ors. vs. State
of U.P. 1978. (1) SCC 579, submitted that
the matter will have to be examined from the constitutional angle bearing in
mind the scope of Articles 20(2) and 21 of the Constitution. He contended that
though an accused person could be arrested, it may not be appropriate to detain
him in custody in every case and when there is presumption of innocence in his
favour until the charge against him is established, it would not at ll be
consistent with the philosophy of the Constitution that such a person should be
subjected to interrogation by application of psychological or ambient pressures
much less physical torture. And he very vehemently stressed that this Court has
a duty to protect a citizen against such inroads of these fundamental right. He
relied upon the decisions in :
1994 (4) SCC 260
1980 (2) SCC 565
1978 (2) SCC 424 and
1978 (1) SCC 579 to contend that in law an accused person could be arrested and
if arrested, is entitled to bail unless detention in needed in public interest.
Arun Jaitley and Sri Gopal Subramaniam, learned Senior Advocates for the
respondents, brought to our notice that there were several special features in
this case which clearly indicate that retaining the petitioner in custody till
the investigation is over is absolutely necessary and is in public interest,
which far outweight the interest of the petitioner.
not wish to enter into any detailed discussion on these legal aspects raised by
the learned counsel for the respondents as this Court in the several decision
referred to by the learned counsel for the petitioner has explained the scope
of the provisions of Articles 20(2) and 21 of the Constitution and Section 486
of the Code of Criminal Procedure and their inter-relationship. We may only
state in considering a petition for grant of bail necessarily if public
interest requires detention of citizen in custody for purposes of investigation
could be considered and rejected as otherwise there could be hurdles in the
investigation even resulting in tempering of evidence. This very aspect has
been borne in mind by the High Court . On the facts and in the circumstances of
the case, we do not think there is any god reason to interfere with the order
made by the High Court in refusing bail at this state of the proceedings. The
special leave petition is, therefore, dismissed.