Naveen Singh vs The State Of Uttar Pradesh on 15 March, 2021


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Supreme Court of India

Naveen Singh vs The State Of Uttar Pradesh on 15 March, 2021

Author: Hon’Ble Dr. Chandrachud

Bench: Hon’Ble Dr. Chandrachud, M.R. Shah

                                                          1


                                                                             REPORTABLE

                                       IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                                      CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                      CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 320 OF 2021
                           [Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No. 2545 of 2020]



                      NAVEEN SINGH                                             .. Appellant


                                                      Versus


                      THE STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH & ANR.                     .. Respondents



                                                 JUDGMENT

M. R. Shah, J.

Leave granted.

2. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned

judgment and order dated 22.05.2020 passed by the High Court
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
Sanjay Kumar
Date: 2021.03.15
of Judicature at Allahabad, Lucknow Bench in Bail Application
17:26:29 IST
Reason:

Case No.1398 of 2020 by which the High Court has released
2

Respondent No.2 herein ­ accused on bail in Case Crime No.433

of 2019 under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 120­B IPC registered

in Police Station Kotwali, District Unnao, the original informant

has preferred the present appeal.

3. That the Record Keeper of the Civil Court, Unnao on the

order of the District Judge, Unnao has lodged an FIR against

Respondent No.2 herein for the offences under Sections 420,

467, 468, 471, 120­B IPC. It is required to be noted that before

the said FIR was lodged, a writ petition was filed by the

appellant herein before the High Court of Judicature at

Allahabad, Lucknow Bench being Misc. Bench No.37206 of 2018

for issuance of writ of mandamus to take action on the

complaint made by him against Respondent No.2 herein for

committing forgery in Court record. At that time, it was alleged

that there was a fabrication in the court record by way of using

whitener in Sessions Trial No.89­A/01, State vs. Mahesh, under

Sections 307, 504 and 506 IPC, Crime Case No.152/2000, Police

Station Makhi, District Unnao. The court record was tampered

with and instead of ‘Mahesh’, ‘Ramesh’ had been written.
3

Considering the gravity of the matter, the High Court called for

­the comments of the Learned Additional Sessions Judge/Fast

Track Court, Unnao. It appears that earlier in the order dated

14.11.2018 the very Learned Additional Sessions Judge/Fast

Track Court, Unnao made certain observations with respect to

the fabrication in the court record. Therefore, the High Court

thought it fit to call his comments as to in context of which

document the observations were made in order dated

14.11.2018. It appears that thereafter the Learned Additional

Sessions Judge sent his comments/enquiry report dated

09.01.2019 indicating that the judicial record pertaining to

Sessions Trial No.89­A/01, State vs. Mahesh, under Sections

307, 504 and 506 IPC, Crime Case No.152 of 2000, Police

Station Makhi, District Unnao, was tampered with. The High

Court directed District and Sessions Judge, Unnao to take notice

of the record dated 09.01.2019 and ensure that the needful is

done. Thereafter on the order of the Learned District and

Sessions Judge, Unnao, the Record keeper has lodged the
4

aforesaid FIR against Respondent No.2 herein – Mahesh for the

offences stated hereinabove.

As per the averments and allegations made in the FIR, a

common order was passed on 23.12.2002 by the Learned

Additional Sessions Judge, Unnao in Sessions Case

No.583/2000 State Vs. Pappu Singh under Section

307/504/506 IPC PS Makhi, District Unnao Case No.152/2000,

Sessions Case Crime No.153/2000 and Session Case

No.89/2001 State Vs. Guddu Singh under Sections

307/504/506 IPC Crime No.152/2000 that the certified copy of

the same was obtained by the appellant – Shri Naveen Singh on

04.05.2012 in which name of any of the accused was not

extended. A certified copy of the decision of the said sessions

case dated 23.12.2002 was obtained by the appellant herein in

which the name of Respondent No.2 – Mahesh was found to be

mentioned in the order. Though the judgment was not passed in

the above sessions case against Mahesh. A certified copy of the

said decision/order was obtained on 04.05.2012. In the first

page of the decision; case of Mahesh was separated as he
5

absconded. The certified copy of the said order dated

23.12.2002 was received by the appellant on 17.12.2015, then

in its order on page 10, the name of the accused – Mahesh was

added with the pen. Therefore, it was alleged that first the name

has been inscribed and the whitener has been applied, which

seems to be a fraud. Second, the name of the accused –Ramesh

has been added/inserted in page no.1, while there was no

accused by name of Ramesh. That a Special Case No.11/12

Crime No.132/2002 under Section 2/3 of the U.P. Gangsters

and Antisocial Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986 hereinafter

referred to as ‘the Gangsters Act’, against Mahesh was pending

and under consideration in Special Court Judge/Gangster

Act/Additional Sessions Judge Court No.5, Unnao, in which a

certified copy of the decision and the order dated 23.12.2002 on

behalf of Mahesh Singh, Paper No.B/346 was presented,

showing that Shri Mahesh Singh was acquitted in the said case.

Having found that Mahesh Singh was acquitted in all the cases

shown in the Gangsters Act including the Special Case

No.583/2000, the Learned Special Court (Gangsters Act)
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acquitted the said Mahesh Singh. The said Mahesh Singh is the

beneficiary of the interpolation/manipulation/forgery of the

court record therefore, it was alleged that Respondent No.2

herein – original accused has committed the offences under

Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 120­B IPC.

3.1 That thereafter and after his arrest, Respondent No.2

herein – Mahesh – accused filed an application for regular bail

before the Learned Sessions Court. That the Learned Additional

Sessions Judge, Unnao by a detailed order dated 07.11.2019

dismissed the said bail application observing that the allegations

against the accused are very serious of forging the court’s

records and that the accused is the beneficiary of the said

forgery and therefore this is not a fit case to release him on bail.

That thereafter Respondent No.2 herein ­ accused approached

the High Court by way of Criminal Misc. Case No.1398/2020 for

regular bail. Before the High Court, it was also contended on

behalf of the accused that there is a possibility that the

manipulation in the certified copy of the judgment issued by the

Court might have been committed by his Pairokar named Pappu
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Singh, his brother who applied and obtained the copy. It was

his case that he was unknown of any such act as he was not

physically involved. By the impugned judgment and order, the

High Court has released Respondent No.2 – accused on bail by

observing in one para as under:

“Since the innocence and complicity
of the accused can be decided only after
taking evidence with regard thereto.
Therefore, without commenting anything
on merit of the case, as to the complicity,
involvement and severances of the
offences, the case being triable by
Magistrate and the chargesheet having
been filed and the accused is languishing
in jail since 22.11.2018, I find force in the
submissions made by of learned counsel
for the bail­applicant for grant of bail.”

4. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned

judgment and order passed by the High Court releasing

Respondent No.2 – accused on bail, the original informant has

preferred the present appeal. State has supported the present

appeal.

5. Learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant has

vehemently submitted that while releasing Respondent No.2 ­
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accused on bail, the High Court has not at all considered the

seriousness of the charge against the accused and the gravity of

the matter.

5.1 It is submitted that the High Court ought to have

appreciated that this is a case of manipulation and forgery of the

court record and as per the enquiry report of the Learned

Additional Sessions Judge, there was interpolation in the court

record. It is submitted that interpolation and manipulation of

the court record is a very serious offence. It is submitted that

earlier High Court took note of the enquiry report submitted by

the Additional Sessions Judge and thereafter directed the

District and Sessions Judge to take further steps and thereafter

on the order passed by Learned District and Sessions Judge, the

FIR was lodged.

5.2 It is submitted that as such Respondent No.2 – accused is

the beneficiary of such manipulation/forgery. It is submitted

that as such manipulated and forged court order was produced

before the court in another case under the Gangsters Act and in

the case under the Gangsters Act it was submitted on the basis
9

of the forged order that he has been acquitted and considering

that as one of the ground the Special Court, Gangsters Act

acquitted the Respondent No.2 herein accused. It is submitted

that therefore Respondent No.2 – accused as such got the

benefit of such forged, manipulated court order. It is submitted

that even according to the respondent – accused the

manipulation might be by his brother Pappu Singh who was

Pairokar on behalf of the appellant. It is submitted that as such

in the proceedings under the Gangsters Act, a common defence

was filed on behalf of Pappu Singh as well as the accused

Mahesh. It is submitted that therefore, even if it is assumed for

the time being that the same might have been done by Pappu

Singh – his brother, in that case also, Mahesh is the beneficiary

of such forged and manipulated court record and, in fact, he got

the benefit of such forged and manipulated court record, the

accused must be aware and he cannot plead the ignorance.

5.3 It is submitted that as such respondent – Mahesh Singh

absconded for 18 years in Crime Case No.152/2000 and

Sessions Case No.583/2000 and, in fact, his trial was separated.
10

5.4 It is further submitted that as such no reasons whatsoever

have been given by the High Court while releasing Respondent

No.2 – accused on bail. It is submitted that when Respondent

No.2 – accused is facing the very serious allegations of forgery

and manipulation of the court record and looking to the gravity

of the matter, the High Court ought to have given some reasons

while releasing him on bail, though no detailed discussion on

merits.

5.5 It is submitted that while releasing Respondent No.2 –

accused on bail, the High Court only stated that the case is

triable by the Magistrate Court and that he has undergone 1

year and 6 months imprisonment. It is submitted that however

the High Court has not considered that the maximum

punishment is 10 years and even imprisonment for life as per

Section 467 read with Section 471 IPC.

Making the above submissions, it is prayed to allow the

present appeal and quash and set aside the impugned judgment

and order passed by the High Court releasing Respondent No.2 ­

accused on bail.

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6. Learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the State has

supported the present appeal. A counter affidavit is filed on

behalf of Respondent No.1 ­ State of U.P. It is submitted that

Mahesh Singh is a history­ sheeter and many cases of murder,

attempt to murder, Gangsters Act, etc. are pending against him.

It is submitted that on investigation it is found that, in fact, the

Respondent No.2 – accused has got the benefit of the forged and

manipulated court order and got himself acquitted in the case

under the Gangsters Act. It is submitted that therefore looking

to the seriousness of the offence as alleged against Respondent

No.2 – accused and considering the gravity of the matter, the

High Court ought not to have released Respondent No.2 –

accused on bail.

7. Ms. Sakshi Kakkar, Learned Counsel appearing on behalf

of Respondent No.2 while opposing the present appeal and

supporting the impugned judgment and order of the High Court

releasing Respondent No.2 on bail has vehemently submitted

that in the facts and circumstances of the case the High Court

has not committed any error in releasing the accused on bail. It
12

is submitted by Learned Counsel that by releasing the accused

on bail, the High Court has acted within the well known

parameters of grant of bail.

It is submitted that this Court in catena of cases has

observed that while dealing with the issue of grant of bail, the

Court should examine as to whether:

  (i)        accused can tamper with the evidence.

  (ii)       influence witness

  (iii)    evade trial/investigation.


7.1      It is submitted that in the present case Respondent No.2

has been granted police protection pursuant to the order passed

by this Court. It is submitted that therefore there are no

chances to evade trial and/or to influence the witnesses. It is

submitted that even the charge­sheet has been filed now and the

charges have been framed in 2019. It is submitted that in the

present matter, all the six witnesses are the Government

witnesses and most of them are court’s staff and therefore, there

are no chances for the respondent to influence them. It is

submitted similarly that all the documentary evidence in the
13

present case are also in the custody of the Court and therefore

no chance of the accused to tamper with the same. In support,

she has relied upon the decision of this Court in case of

P.Chidambaram vs. Central Bureau of Investigation, (2020)

13 SCC 337. It is further submitted that as per catena of

decision of this Court, bail is the rule and jail is the exception. It

is submitted that, in fact Respondent No.2 has been framed and

falsely implicated. It is further submitted that in catena of cases

this Court, in the cases involving Sections 468, 471 IPC, has

granted bail to the accused while considering the period of

incarceration. Reliance is placed on Sharad T. Kabra vs.

Union of India, (2018) 14 SCC 493; Seema Singh vs. CBI,

(2018) 16 SCC 10; Manish Solanki vs. State of Rajasthan,

(2019) 4 SCC 340. It is further submitted that even it cannot be

said that the allegations made in the FIR are prima facie

established. It is submitted that neither in the FIR nor in the

charge­sheet it has been mentioned that Mahesh Singh and/or

by any of his acquaintances has applied for certified copy of

order dated 23.12.2002. It is submitted that if the said order
14

has not been obtained by Mahesh Singh or by any of his

acquaintances, then the issue of using it in S.T. No.11 of 2012

does not arise.

7.2. Number of other submissions have been made by the

Learned Counsel appearing for Respondent No.2 to the effect

that Respondent No.2 ­ accused Mahesh has not used the order

alleged to have been fabricated in the case against him under

the Gangsters Act.

7.3 It is further submitted that even it is also not true that

Respondent No.2 – accused has absconded for last 18 years as

alleged.

7.4 It is further submitted by Learned Counsel appearing on

behalf of the accused that now the appellant and the State are

sharing hand in gloves against the accused.

7.5 It is submitted that in any case the appellant has no locus

to assail the grant of bail sought by Respondent No.2. It is

submitted that he is neither the complainant nor the affected

person from the alleged offence in Case Crime No.433 of 2019.

It is submitted that on the contrary, he has his personal motive
15

in keeping the accused behind the bar, as the appellant and his

father are accused in FIR No.305 of 2019 with respect to killing

the appellant’s wife. Relying upon the decision of this Court in

the case of Amanullah vs. State of Bihar, (2016) 6 SCC 699, it

is submitted that the present application at the instance of the

appellant who is a third person and who is not connected with

the matter under consideration and is having a personal

grievance against the accused may not be entertained.

7.6 It is submitted that even the present petition is being

politically motivated and therefore it is requested not to entertain

the present appeal at the instance of the appellant.

8. Heard learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respective

parties at length and perused the impugned judgment and order

passed by the High Court, whereby Respondent No.2 ­ accused

is released on bail.

8.1 At the outset, it is required to be noted that Respondent

No.2 ­ accused is facing the trial for the offences under Sections

420, 467, 468, 471, 120­B IPC. It is also required to be noted

that the FIR has been lodged by the record keeper of the court
16

on the order passed by the District and Sessions Judge, Unnao.

After the enquiry report submitted by the Learned Additional

District and Sessions Judge, Unnao in which it was stated that

the Court record has been manipulated and forged, the High

Court directed the Learned District and Sessions Judge to look

into the report and take further action and thereafter the FIR

has been lodged against the respondent – accused for the

aforesaid offences. If we consider the allegations, in that case,

the allegations are very serious of tampering and/or

manipulating the court record and Respondent no.2 has taken

the benefit of such forged/manipulated court order in another

case. It is also required to be noted that now after the

investigation is concluded, the charge­sheet has been filed

against the Respondent – accused and even the charges have

also reported to be framed. Thus, a prima facie case is found

against the accused for the aforesaid offences.

8.2 If we consider the impugned judgment and order passed by

the High Court, it appears that High Court has not adverted

itself to the seriousness of the case and the offences alleged
17

against Respondent no.2 – accused and the gravity of the matter.

From the impugned order, it appears that the High Court has

released Respondent No.2 – accused on bail in a routine and

casual manner and without adverting to the seriousness of the

offence and the gravity of the matter relating to forgery and/or

manipulating the court order. From the impugned judgment

and order passed by the High Court, it appears that High Court

has only observed that since the innocence and complicity of the

accused can be decided only after taking evidence with regard

thereto, without commenting anything on merit as to the

complicity, involvement and severeness of the offences, the case

being triable by the Magistrate and the charge sheet having been

filed and the accused is languishing in jail since 22.11.2018, is

entitled to be released on bail.

However, the High Court has not at all considered that the

accused is charged for the offences under Sections 420, 467,

468, 471, 120­B IPC and the maximum punishment for offence

under Section 467 IPC is 10 years and fine/imprisonment for life

and even for the offence under Section 471 IPC the similar
18

punishment. Apart from that forging and/or manipulating the

court record and getting benefit of such forged/manipulated

court record is a very serious offence. If the Court record is

manipulated and/or forged, it will hamper the administration of

justice. Forging/manipulating the Court record and taking the

benefit of the same stands on altogether a different footing than

forging/manipulating other documents between two individuals.

Therefore, the High Court ought to have been more

cautious/serious in granting the bail to a person who is alleged

to have forged/manipulated the court record and taken the

benefit of such manipulated and forged court record more

particularly when he has been charge­sheeted having found

prima facie case and the charge has been framed.

8.3 Now, so far as the submissions on behalf of the accused

that he has not obtained the certified copy of the judgment and

order of the Learned Sessions Court dated 23.12.2002 in which

there are allegations of forging and manipulation and he has not

produced the same in the case against him under the Gangsters

Act is concerned. From the order passed by Learned Special
19

Court Gangsters Act, it appears that the judgment and order

passed by the Learned Sessions Judge dated 23.12.2002 was

produced in which Respondent No.2 – accused ­ Mahesh was

shown as acquitted. On the basis of the same, the Learned

Special Court acquitted Respondent No.2 ­accused. Therefore,

in fact, he is the beneficiary of the said forged/manipulated

court order. The Special Court has taken note of the order. It is

the case on behalf of the accused that it might have been

produced by his brother – Pappu Singh who was doing Pairokar

on his behalf. The aforesaid is neither here nor there. Once he

is the beneficiary of such forged/manipulated court order and

having taken advantage of such order thereafter it will not be

open for the respondent­accused to contend that it might have

been done by his brother Pappu Singh who was doing Pairokar

on his behalf.

At this stage, it is required to be noted that Pappu Singh

has died subsequently. We do not express anything further on

merits and go into detail as the trial is yet to take place and any

further observation on merits may affect the case of the accused.
20

Suffice it to say that in the facts and circumstances of the case

and looking to the very serious allegations of

forging/manipulating court order and having taken advantage of

the same, the High Court is not justified in releasing Respondent

No.2 on bail. Merely because the charge­sheet is filed is no

ground to release the accused on bail. The submission on behalf

of the accused that as the record is now in the court’s custody

there is no chance of tampering is concerned, the allegation

against the respondent accused are of

tampering/forging/manipulating the court record which was in

the custody of the court. Seriousness of the offence is one of the

relevant considerations while considering the grant of bail,

which has not been considered at all by the High Court while

releasing Respondent No.2 ­ accused on bail.

8.4 Now, so far as the submission on behalf of the respondent –

accused that the appellant has no locus to file the present

application for cancellation of the bail is concerned, it is required

to be noted that in fact, it was the appellant who approached the

High Court alleging tampering of court record by the Respondent
21

No.2 ­ accused and thereafter, the High Court directed the

Learned Additional Sessions Judge to submit his comments and

thereafter the Learned Additional Sessions Judge submitted its

enquiry report and thereafter, the FIR has been lodged.

Therefore, it cannot be said that the appellant has no locus to

file the present application for cancellation of the bail. Even

otherwise in a case like this, where the allegations are of

tampering with the court order and for whatever reason the

State has not filed the bail application the locus is not that

much important and it is insignificant.

9. In view of the aforesaid reasons, the impugned judgment

and order passed by the High Court releasing Respondent No.2 ­

accused on bail is unsustainable and deserves to be quashed

and set aside and is accordingly set aside.

Now Respondent No.2 ­ accused to surrender forthwith as a

consequence of cancellation of the bail granted by the High

Court, if not surrendered. However, it is made clear that any

observations made by this Court in the present order be treated

to have been confined to the grant of bail and the trial to be
22

proceeded further and conducted in accordance with law and on

its own merits.

Present appeal is allowed accordingly.

…………………………………………J.

[Dr. Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud]

….………….………………………….J.

[M. R. Shah]

New Delhi,
March 15, 2021



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