Monday, June 17, 2024

Supreme Court sets aside Patna High Court's order in anticipatory bail case under Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act from Aurangabad

On March 21, 2024, Supreme Court's bench of Justices B.V. Nagarathna and Augustine  George Masih set aside the order of Patna High Court passed on December 12, 2023 by Justice Anjani Kumar Sharan rejecting the application for anticipatory bail from Aurangabad in Chandan Kumar Vs. State of Bihar (2023)

Prior to this the petitioner had approached the High Court apprehending his arrest in Amba P.S. Case No. 149 of 2021 registered for the offences punishable under Section 30 (a) of the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2018. Altogether 2541.600 litres of foreign liquor was recovered from the truck. It came ti light that the consignment belonged to the petitioner and his associates. The counsel for the petitioner submitted that petitioner was quite innocent and had committed no offence. No incriminating article was recovered from the conscious physical possession of the petitioner. He had no concern either with the seized liquor or the place of recovery or any trade of liquor. The allegation levelled against him is general and omnibus. He was not apprehended on the spot. He had not consumed liquor. There was nothing on record to indicate the complicity of the petitioner barring the confessional statement of the apprehended person which has no evidentiary value in the eye of law. The High Court had concluded: "Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, as petitioner has one criminal antecedent of similar nature, I am not inclined to enlarge him on anticipatory bail. The prayer for anticipatory bail of the petitioner is hereby rejected."

The Supreme Court's order in Chandan Kumar Vs. State of Bihar (2024) recorded that two co-accused have been granted anticipatory bail and three other co-accused are on regular bail. The counsel for the appellant submitted that there is nothing to connect the appellant vis-a-vis the recovery made from the truck and even though the appellant’s name may have been mentioned in the FIR, he was not at the spot when co- accused were apprehended along with foreign liquor. He, therefore, submitted that this is a fit case where anticipatory bail may be granted. 

The Court concluded:"Considering the circumstances on record, in our view, the appellant is entitled to the relief claimed under Section 438 of the Code. We, therefore, allow this appeal and set aside the order passed by the High Court dated 12.12.2023. We direct that in the event of arrest of the appellant, the Arresting Officer shall release the appellant on bail subject to furnishing cash security in the sum of Rs.25,000/- (Rupees Twenty-Five Thousand only) with two like sureties." 


No comments: