SC: No Special Consideration can be Accorded for Granting Bail to NRI

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January 24, 2018

Case name: Lachhman Dass v. Resham Chand Kaler & Anr.

Date of Judgment: January 23, 2018

Brief Facts of the case- In the case, the High of Punjab had granted a regular bail to the Respondent against whom FIR (First Information Report) was lodged under Indian Penal Code as well as the Arms Act for murder and other allied offences.

Also read All you Need to Know about Bail Application in India

Here it would be pertinent to mention that in the case respondent i.e. Resham Chand Kaler is an NRI. In view of the gravity and seriousness of offences alleged to be committed by the Respondent, the Trial court had rejected the bail application Aggrieved, by the rejection of bail, respondent approached the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, wherein the High Court granted bail to the Respondent on usual terms and ordered to release the reposndent on regular bail on furnishing bail bond and surety bond to the satisfaction of Trial Court.

Aggrieved by the order of the High Court the appellant has approached the Supreme Court. The Appellant contends that the nature of crime is very serious and the High Court without application of mind, casually granted bail to respondent. The appellant also expressed apprehension that there is a likelihood that respondent would tamper with the process of investigation

The Respondent’s counsel in the case submitted respondent is a British citizen and involvement of respondent in the alleged conspiracy is a matter of trial and this court should assess only prima facie culpability, concerning the involvement of respondent.

Bench’s Verdict

The Supreme Court in the case allowed the appeal and set aside the impugned order passed by the High Court and made following observations in the case:

  • The Court in view of material available on record, was of the opinion that a prima facie case was made out against the respondent—accused, as the CD filed with Petition showed group of persons committing the offence using deadly weapons and sticks.
  • That though the respondent is not a citizen of this country (British national), yet the fact remains that he along with other persons has indulged in the criminal activity.
  • That there is no reason to accord any special consideration for respondent by virtue of a simple fact that he is a citizen of different country. That the under Section 439 of Code of Criminal Procedure is very clear and in the eyes of the law every accused is the same irrespective of their nationality.
  • That the order of the High Court on the first instance clearly points out that it has virtually directed the course of action to be undertaken by the subordinate court. It is not expected from the High Court to pass such mandatory orders commanding the subordinate court to compulsorily grant bail. Recently, this court on similar facts in Madan Mohan v. State of Rajasthan[1], has laid down that courts cannot issue mandatory directions which breach the independence of subordinate courts.

Also read SC: Superior Court cannot Direct Subordinate Court to Pass an Order   

In view of the aforesaid, the Supreme Court directed the concerned police authorities to take the respondent into custody immediately.

Read the case here.

[1] Criminal Appeal No. 2178 of 2017, decided on December 14, 2017