Criminal court exercising bail jurisdiction is not expected to act as recovery agent to realize dues of complainant

Dilip Singh Vs State of Madhya Pradesh

Supreme Court

19/01/2021

Criminal Appeal No. 53 of 2021

About/from the judgment:

The Supreme Court observed that a criminal court, exercising jurisdiction to grant bail/anticipatory bail, is not expected to act as a recovery agent to realise the dues of the complainant.

The court observed thus while setting aside a condition imposed by Madhya Pradesh High Court on an accused while granting him anticipatory bail.

The complainant, in the criminal complaint he filed, had alleged that the accused had received Rs 41 lakhs from him pursuant to an agreement for purchase of agricultural land and later refused to execute the sale deed. While disposing the anticipatory bail application filed by the accused, the High Court directed him to deposit Rs 41 lakhs in court and upon his furnishing personal bond in the sum of Rs 50,000 with one solvent surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the arresting officer. The accused approached the Apex Court challenging the condition so imposed.

The Apex Court bench noted that the disputes are civil in nature and by imposing the condition of deposit of Rs. 41 lakhs, the High Court has virtually issued directions in the nature of recovery in a civil suit. The bench observed:

It is well settled by a plethora of decisions of this Court that criminal proceedings are not for realization of disputed dues. It is open to a Court to grant or refuse the prayer for anticipatory bail, depending on the facts and circumstances of the particular case...A criminal court, exercising jurisdiction to grant bail/anticipatory bail, is not expected to act as a recovery agent to realise the dues of the complainant, and that too, without any trial.

The court said that factors to be taken into consideration, while considering an application for bail are the nature of accusation and the severity of the punishment in the case of conviction and the nature of the materials relied upon by the prosecution; reasonable apprehension of tampering with the witnesses or apprehension of threat to the complainant or the witnesses; reasonable possibility of securing the presence of the accused at the time of trial or the likelihood of his abscondence; character behaviour and standing of the accused; and the circumstances which are peculiar or the accused and larger interest of the public or the State and similar other considerations.

The bench, therefore, allowed the appeal by deleting the direction to deposit Rs 41 lakhs as directed by the High Court.

Read the Judgment

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