Sudha Singh vs The State Of Uttar Pradesh on 23 April, 2021


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Supreme Court of India

Sudha Singh vs The State Of Uttar Pradesh on 23 April, 2021

Author: Hon’Ble The Justice

Bench: Hon’Ble The Justice, Hon’Ble The Justice, A.S. Bopanna, V. Ramasubramanian

                                                 REPORTABLE

            IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
           CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

           CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 448 OF 2021
(@ SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL.) NO. 3577 0F 2020)

  SUDHA SINGH                              … APPELLANT(S)

                            VERSUS

  THE STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH & ANR. …RESPONDENT(S)



                         JUDGMENT

1. Leave granted.

2. This is a criminal appeal filed against the order of the

Allahabad High Court granting bail to the accused who has

been arrested with respect to the offence punishable under

Section 3 (1) of the U.P. Gangster and Anti-Social Activities

(Prevention) Act, 1986.

3. The appellant is the wife of a deceased victim namely

Rajnarain Singh who has been allegedly murdered by the

accused, who is Respondent No. 2 herein, in conspiracy

with others. A First Information Report bearing Case Crime

Number 200 of 2015, P.S.-Sodhari, Distt.- Azamgarh, was

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registered in that regard and a charge sheet for offences

under Sections 120-B and 302 of the Indian Penal Code,

1860 and Sections 3 and 25 of the Arms Act, 1959 was filed

against the accused. The accused is alleged to be a

contract killer and a sharpshooter. In fact, previously, the

accused has been prosecuted in fifteen cases for serious

offences including murder, attempt to murder and criminal

conspiracy.

4. According to the prosecution, the accused along with

other persons operate an organized crime gang in

Azamgarh that allegedly commits offences punishable

under Chapters 16, 17 and 22 of the Indian Penal Code. The

very purpose of the gang is to make physical and financial

gains by committing innumerable crimes of serious nature.

It is also stated that this gang instills extreme fear and

terror in the area where it operates thereby precluding

persons from coming forward and lodging police complaints

against its activities, or for that matter deposing in cases

pertaining thereof.

5. By the order impugned in this criminal appeal, the

Allahabad High Court granted bail to the accused herein on

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very liberal terms, such as the execution of a personal bond

to the satisfaction of the jail Authorities and the furnishing

of sureties within a month of his release. The High court has

simply ignored the antecedents of the accused and the

potential to repeat his acts by organising his criminal

activities.

6. It is stated by the appellant, who is the wife of the

deceased victim that the conduct of the accused during the

trial of the case in Case No. 511 of 2016 has been one of

non cooperation, by not cross examining the witnesses

first, then praying for their recall and then threatening

witnesses through his henchmen. In fact, the conduct of the

accused impelled the Sessions court to direct the police to

provide security in the court during the trial and provide

security to the witnesses.

7. It is also contended by the appellant that the grant of

bail in a routine manner to gangsters, has had an adverse

effect in the past, upon the law and order situation. The

appellant cites the example of a person who was

prosecuted in connection with 64 criminal cases which

included cases of murders, offences of dacoity, criminal

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intimidation, extortion and offences under the UP-Gangster

Act, etc., but who was released on bail. Ultimately, when a

police team went to apprehend him in a case, allegedly 8

policemen were killed and many grievously injured.

Therefore, the appellant contends that courts must be

extremely careful in releasing of history sheeters who have

been charged with serious offences like murder, rape or

other kinds of bodily harms

several times.

8. We find in this case that the high court has

overlooked several aspects, such as the potential threat to

witnesses, forcing the trial court to grant protection. It is

needless to point out that in cases of this nature, it is

important that courts do not enlarge an accused on bail

with a blinkered vision by just taking into account only the

parties before them and the incident in question. It is

necessary for courts to consider the impact that release of

such persons on bail will have on the witnesses yet to be

examined and the innocent members of the family of the

victim who might be the next victims.

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9. This Court in Neeru Yadav vs. State of U.P.1 held

that when a stand was taken that the accused was a history

sheeter, it was imperative for the High Courts to scrutinise

every aspect and not capriciously record that the accused

was entitled to be released on bail on the ground of parity.

10. In Ash Mohammad vs. Shiv Raj Singh 2, this Court

observed that when citizens were scared to lead a peaceful

life and heinous offences were obstructions in the

establishment of a well-ordered society, the courts play an

even more important role, and the burden is heavy. It

emphasized on the need to have a proper analysis of the

criminal antecedents of the accused.

11. In Prasanta Kumar Sarkar vs. Ashis Chatterjee

and Another3, it was held that this Court ordinarily would

not interfere with a High Court’s order granting or rejecting

bail to an accused. Nonetheless, it was equally imperative

for the High Court to exercise its discretion judiciously,

cautiously and strictly in compliance with the ratio set by a

1
(2014) 16 SCC 508
2
(2012) 9 SCC 446
3
(2010) 14 SCC 496

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catena of decisions of this Court. The factors laid down in

the judgment were:

(i) Whether there was a prima facie or reasonable ground

to believe that the accused had committed the

offence;

(ii) nature and gravity of accusations;

(iii) severity of the punishment in the event of a

conviction;

(iv) danger of the accused absconding or fleeing, if

granted bail;

(v) character, behaviour, means, position and

standing of the accused;

(vi) likelihood of repetition of the offence;

(vii) reasonable apprehension of the witnesses being

influenced; and

(viii) danger of justice being thwarted by grant of bail.

12. There is no doubt that liberty is important, even that

of a person charged with crime but it is important for the

courts to recognise the potential threat to the life and

liberty of victims/witnesses, if such accused is released on

bail.

13. We, therefore, allow the appeal and set aside the

order of the Allahabad High Court granting bail to the

accused.

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……………………………..CJI.

[S.A. BOBDE]

……………………………….J.

[A.S. BOPANNA]

………………………………..J.

[V. RAMASUBRAMANIAN]
New Delhi
April 23, 2021

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