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IRAC Analysis on Siddharam Satilngappa Mehtre v State of Maharashtra (2011) 1 SCC 694

Paper Details 

Paper Code: AIJACLAV3CA012023

Category: Research Paper

Date of Submission for First Review: March 9, 2023

Date of Publication: December 29, 2023

Citation:  Ashwin Singh, “IRAC Analysis on Siddharam Satilngappa Mehtre v State of Maharashtra (2011) 1 SCC 694", 3, AIJACLA, 155, 155-157 (2023), <https://www.aequivic.in/post/irac-analysis-on-siddharam-satilngappa-mehtre-v-state-of-maharashtra-2011-1-scc-694>

Author Details: Ashwin Singh, Student, Symbiosis Law School, Pune





Abstract

In the present case, Mr. Sidarampa Patil was a BJP Member contesting election for the state legislative assembly. The appellant along with Baburao Patil and Prakash Patil some other people, were strong supporters of Congress party and equally strong opponent of BJP. Mr. Sidarampa, along with the party members, went to see other party members and post that went to a temple to worship.

After this, the appellant along with their party members arrived there and started shouting and asking them to go away. Meanwhile, Baburao Patil and Prakash Patil fired to kill Mr. Sidarampa and others, in which one Bhima was killed and 5 other workers were assaulted. It was also brought to the notice of the FIR that the petitioner had told that if anybody would say their party workers anything, he will send his five mean. “You beat anybody, do whatever.”

Prosecution filed an anticipatory bill before the High court which upon getting rejected, lead to filling of special leave petition before the Supreme Court.

Keywords

Assault; Election; Murder; Special Leave Petition; Temple


Introduction

In the case between Siddharam Satilngappa Mhtre (Appellant) v. State of Maharashtra (Respondent) as decided on December 02, 2010, the major issues were whether anticipatory bail could be granted to the petitioner under Section 438 of Code of Criminal Procedure? And whether the decision of High Court in limiting the scope of Section 438, Code of Criminal Procedure was correct?

The contention of the prosecution was that there was an instigation by the appellant to kill Bhima Kora, eight days prior to the incident. Their arguments lied majorly focussing upon the principle of law that is- accused is innocent until proven guilty. One of the key aspects to this case, as pointed out by the prosecution was that the courts are not provided with any powers with respect to granting anticipatory bail.

The Supreme Court, allowed the appeal by setting aside the order of the High Court. The court also allowed the petitioner to be released on bail on furnishing a personal bond amounting Rs. 50,000 along with two securities of the same amount upon the discretion of the arresting officer.


Analysis of the Case

Scope of Anticipatory Bail

The concept of anticipatory bail was first coined in the 41st Law Commission Report. The major issue revolving around this case was to determine the scope of anticipatory bail and its judicial discretion. There has been a conflict between the statute and the Constitution of India in this matter. Petitioners in this case, relied upon the contention that there is no power in this aspect granted by the legislation. The court heavily followed the judgement by the Apex Court in the case, Gurubaksh Singh Sibbia and Ors. v. State of Punjab[1] wherein the scope of authority and discretion of the judiciary was discussed with respect to anticipatory bills.

Therefore, in my opinion, the court rightly stated that while considering a bail application, there has to be a perfect balance between the interests of the society and personal liberty of an individual. It must also follow the theory of presumption of innocence until proven guilty. According to the mandate, the police must allow record reasonable reasons of arrest.[2] 

It has also come before the court that a lot of lower courts as well as some high courts have wrong belief that the power under Section 438 is an extraordinary power and must only be exercised in extraordinary circumstances. Even various rulings like K.L. Verma v. State and Anr.[3], Sunita Devi Vs State of Bihar[4] followed this erroneous interpretation of exercising this power only in extraordinary cases.

The court discarded the opinion of the rulings of Salauddin Abdulsamad Shaikh v. State of Maharashtra[5], wherein, it was held that the anticipatory bail could only be granted for a limited period and whenever it expires, the matter will be dealt by the regular courts.


Limited period of Anticipatory Bail

In order to determine this issue, it is of vital importance to look into the rationale of the court behind not accepting the limitation period. Firstly, the legislative intent must be taken into consideration which was not present in this case as there is a wide ambit of power given to courts. Secondly, looking at the bare provisions of the legislation, it is crystal clear that there is no such mention of period limitation.[6] And lastly, this limitation would restrict the personal liberty of the accused which is clear violation of Article 21.


Right to Life and Liberty

The main concern of for the judiciary is to maintain a perfect balance between the liberty of the accused while keeping in mind the principals of criminal jurisprudence when considering the bail applications. In Indian context, the doctrine of arrest[7]lays down the importance of right to liberty. Therefore, when there is arbitrary exercise of power by the authority in issues of bail, it violates right to life and liberty.[8]


Doctrine of per incurium

The Apex court was of the opinion that not only does a larger-strength judgement bind a smaller-strength judgement, but a judgement[9] of co-equal strength also binds a Bench of judges of co-equal strength. This theory is brought into reference since the High Court in the present case, did not follow the ratio laid down in the case of Gurubaksh Sibbia which majorly dealt with all the aspects of anticipatory bail. Therefore, the Supreme Court rightly quashed the decision of the High Court in the present case and granted Special Leave Petition.


Recent Judgements

In Mohd. Nazim v State of Himachal Pradesh (2021),[10] the court held that Section 438 acts as an exception to the general principal and the courts must maintain a balance between the powers of investigative authorities and the rights of life and liberty of an individual.

In Sushila Agarwal v State of Delhi (2020),[11] the court removed the period of limitation of anticipatory bail but laid down that it does not cause any violation of Article 21.


Comparative Analysis

●        As per England’s Bail’s Act, 1976, courts are bound to give the reason of rejection of an anticipatory bail especially the ground of the rejection.

●       In American jurisdiction, the following are the three reasons for rejection of bail- There's reason to believe the defendant will flee the country, even if he is released on bail, there is reason to believe he will conduct another crime, there's a good chance the defendant will try to intimidate witnesses.


Conclusion and Analysis

While anticipatory bail is allowed, the protection should normally last until the end of the trial, unless the interim protection provided by anticipatory bail is constrained whenever the anticipatory bail issued by the court is revoked by the court on the basis of new evidence or conditions, or on the basis of the accused's abuse of the indulgence.

It has also been observed as per National Police Commission's third Report that the quality of arrests by the police in India highlighted power of arrest as one of the primary sources of police corruption. There should be seminars conducted for the police officers to create awareness about such laws. Therefore, these aspects of law must be taken into consideration and the legislative intention of the legislature must be given utmost importance while interpreting laws.



[1] Gurubaksh Singh Sibbia and Ors. v. State of Punjab (1980) 2 SCC 565.

[2] Id.

[3] K.L. Verma Vs. State and Anr (1998) 9 SCC 348.

[4] Sunita Devi Vs State of Bihar (2005) 6 SCC 108.

[5] Salauddin Abdulsamad Shaikh V. State of Maharashtra (1996) AIR 1042.

[6] Id.

[7] Id.

[8] Badresh Bipinbai Seth v State of Gujrat (2016) 1 SCC 152.

[9] S. Pushpa v Sivachanmugavelu (2005) 3 SCC 1.

[10] Mohd. Nazim v State of Himachal Pradesh [2021] SCC OnLine HP 606.

[11] Sushila Agarwal v State of Delhi [2020] SCC OnLine SC 98


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