SC on subsequent addition of new offences & previously granted bail

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 1st July 2019, in the matter of Pradeep Ram v. The State of Jharkhand & Anr. observed that in all cases, where accused is bailed out under orders of the Court and new offences are added including offences of serious nature, it is not necessary that in all cases earlier bail should be cancelled by the Court before granting permission to arrest an accused on the basis of new offences.

Whether in a case where an accused has been bailed out in a criminal case, in which case, subsequently new offences are added, is it necessary that bail earlier granted should be cancelled for taking the accused in custody?

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that: 

The bail granted to an accused earlier to addition of new non-bailable offence shall not enure to the benefit of the accused insofar as newly added offences are concerned and he is required to surrender and obtain a bail with regard to newly added offences to save him from arrest. (Para 5)

A person against whom serious offences have been added, who is already on bail can very well be directed to be arrested and committed to custody by the Court in exercise of power under Sections 437(5) and 439(2). Cancelling the bail granted to an accused and directing him to arrest and taken into custody can be one course of the action, which can be adopted while exercising power under Sections 437(5) and 439(2), but there may be cases where without cancelling the bail granted to an accused, on relevant consideration, Court can direct the accused to be arrested and committed to custody. (Para 21)

The addition of serious offences is one of such circumstances, under which the Court can direct the accused to be arrested and committed to custody despite the bail having been granted with regard to the offences with which he was charged at the time when bail was considered and granted. (Para 21)

A plain reading of Sections 437(5) and 439(2) of Cr.P.C. indicates that provision does not mandatorily provide that the Court before directing arrest of such accused who has already been granted bail must necessary cancel his earlier bail. A discretion has been given to the Court to pass such orders to direct for such person be arrested and commit him to the custody which direction may be with an order for cancellation of earlier bail or permission to arrest such accused due to addition of graver and non- cognizable offences. (Para 25)

It may be true that by mere addition of an offence in a criminal case, in which accused is bailed out, investigating authorities itself may not proceed to arrest the accused and need to obtain an order from the Court, which has released the accused on the bail. It is also open for the accused, who is already on bail and with regard to whom serious offences have been added to apply for bail in respect of new offences added and the Court after applying the mind may either refuse the bail or grant the bail with regard to new offences. In a case, bail application of the accused for newly added offences is rejected, the accused can very well be arrested. (Para 27)

In all cases, where accused is bailed out under orders of the Court and new offences are added including offences of serious nature, it is not necessary that in all cases earlier bail should be cancelled by the Court before granting permission to arrest an accused on the basis of new offences. (Para 27)

The power under Sections 437(5) and 439(2) are wide powers granted to the court by the Legislature under which Court can permit an accused to be arrested and commit him to custody without even cancelling the bail with regard to earlier offences. Sections 437(5) and 439(2) cannot be read into restricted manner that order for arresting the accused and commit him to custody can only be passed by the Court after cancelling the earlier bail. (Para 27)

(Para 29) In respect of a circumstance where after grant of bail to an accused, further cognizable and non-bailable offences are added:-

(i) The accused can surrender and apply for bail for newly added cognizable and non-bailable offences. In event of refusal of bail, the accused can certainly be arrested.

(ii) The investigating agency can seek order from the court under Section 437(5) or 439(2) of Cr.P.C. for arrest of the accused and his custody.

(iii) The Court, in exercise of power under Section 437(5) or 439(2) of Cr.P.C., can direct for taking into custody the accused who has already been granted bail after cancellation of his bail. The Court in exercise of power under Section 437(5) as well as Section 439(2) can direct the person who has already been granted bail to be arrested and commit him to custody on addition of graver and non-cognizable offences which may not be necessary always with order of cancelling of earlier bail.

(iv) In a case where an accused has already been granted bail, the investigating authority on addition of an offence or offences may not proceed to arrest the accused, but for arresting the accused on such addition of offence or offences it need to obtain an order to arrest the accused from the Court which had granted the bail.

Copy of judgement: Judgement_01-Jul-2019

-Tushar Kaushik

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *