22 Jul 2121

Compartmentalization of the Judiciary and Executive should not be breached by interfering with the personal decision-making of the judges and the conduct of the court proceedings under them - Supreme Court of India

Case : Somesh Chaurasia v. State of M. P. & Anr. Criminal Appeal Nos. 590-591 of 2021 at SLP (Crl) Nos. 4998-4999 of 2021

Court : Supreme Court of India

Bench : Justice Dr. Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and Justice Hrishikesh Roy

Decided on : 22 Jul 2121

Relevant Statues

Sections 147, 148, 149, 294, 302, 323, 324, 307, 399, 402, 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

Sections 173, 319, 389 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

Section 25 (1) (1B) (a) of the Arms Act, 1959

Brief Facts & Procedure History

1. The relevant seminal facts state that the Appellant is convicted of three crimes. In the first crime, the Appellant committed the murder of the deceased Rajendra Pathak on 13.10.1998 who was going on his scooter and was confronted by the Appellant and co-accused Chandu Thakur. At the relevant point of time, the Appellant Govind Singh fired through Katta on the deceased Rajendra Pathak which hit the deceased on his chest. After receiving the said shot the deceased ran to save his life and on noticing the same co-accused Chandu Thakur fired a shot which hit the deceased on his back. The deceased Rajendra Pathak succumbed to injuries. Consequently, a Session trial was instituted and the Appellant was convicted for the murder of Rajendra Pathak and sentenced to life imprisonment by judgment dated 30.09.2008. Thereafter, a Cr.A No.2353/2008 was filed by the Appellant.

2. In the second crime, the Appellant along with others committed the murder of Munna Vishwakarma. Consequently, Sessions Trial No. 113/2005 was instituted and the Appellant was convicted for the murder of Munna vide Judgment dated 27.10.2015. Thereafter, a Criminal Appeal No. 3108/2015 was filed by the Appellant. Therefore, the Appellant has committed two crimes punishable under Section 302 Indian Penal Code, 1860 on the same date i.e. 11.5.2004 viz. the present case in which Ramakant Pathak and Kailash Pathak were killed and Munna Vishwakarma in respect to which Criminal Appeal No. 3108/2015 is pending.

3. The Appellant committed another crime for offences punishable under Section 399 and 402 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 25 (1) (1B) (a) of the Arms Act, 1959. The Appellant was convicted and thereafter filed a Criminal Appeal No. 1984 /2011 where his sentence was suspended. Further after the grant of bail in the said criminal appeals, the Appellant again committed the murder of one Devendra Chaurasiva on 15.03.2019 and a First Information Report to that respect has been registered against the Appellant on 15.03.2019 for offences punishable under Sections 294, 323, 324, 307, 147, 148, 149, 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Since the deceased died after registration of First Information Report, an offence under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 has been added. By the order dated 23.7.2019, the High Court of Madhya Pradesh declined to entertain the application for revocation of the suspension of sentence/ grant of bail.

4. Hence, this present appeal arises by filing two applications i.e. IA 6837 of 2019 filed by the State of Madhya Pradesh and IA 5781 of 2019 filed by the Appellant seeking a revocation of the suspension of sentence and bail granted to the second Respondent.

The Issue(s) of the Case

Whether the two applications i.e. IA 6837 of 2019 filed by the State of Madhya Pradesh and IA 5781 of 2019 filed by the Appellant seeking a revocation of the suspension of sentence and bail granted to the second Respondent is maintainable?

The Observations of the Court

The Honourable Supreme Court observed the following:

1. Critically analyzed Section 389 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and opined that grant of bail post-conviction would depend upon various factors and one such factor is the conduct of the accused which would eventually result in the cancellation of bail.

2. Observed that the Honourable High Court of Madhya Pradesh by its impugned order dated 23.7.2019 allowed the second Respondent, who allegedly committed murder during the period when his sentence was suspended to continue on bail until his claim that he was being falsely implicated was first investigated in ninety days.

3. Opined that by adopting such a procedure, the Honourable High Court of Madhya Pradesh has clearly transgressed into an unusual domain and in effect stultified the administration of criminal justice.

4. Due to the grievous error of the Honourable High Court of Madhya Pradesh in passing its directions, the same was misused to defeat the investigation where despite the order under Section 319 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the second Respondent evaded arrest in contravention of the warrant of arrest.

5. Took cognizance of the material on the record which indicates that efforts had been made to shield the accused from the administration of criminal justice as the accused was a highly influential political person.

6. Reliance was placed upon several precedents such as Atul Tripathi v. State of U.P, (2014) 9 SCC 177; Ramji Prasad v. Rattan Kumar Jaiswal and Anr, (2002) 9 SCC 366; Masood Ali Khan v. State of U.P. and Ors, (2009) 3 SCC 492; Vijay Kumar v. Narendra, (2002) 9 SCC 364; Etc,.

The Decision held by the Court

1. The Honourable Supreme Court set aside the order of the Honourable High Court of Madhya Pradesh dated 23.7.2019 and allowed the IA No. 6837 of 2019 and IA No. 5781 of 2019.

2. The Honourable Supreme Court further cancelled the bail granted to the second Respondent and directed to move the second Respondent under the directions of the Director-General of Police to another jail in Madhya Pradesh to ensure the fair course of the criminal proceedings.

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