Supreme Court refuses to entertain plea challenging order to pay maintenance as condition for anticipatory bail
Mohan Murari Vs State of Bihar
SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRIMINAL) Diary No(s). 20961/2020
About/from the judgment:
While granting anticipatory bail to the appellant, the Patna High Court had imposed a condition that he would have to pay a monthly maintenance of Rs 20,000 to his wife.
The Supreme Court refused to entertain an appeal against a Patna High Court decision requiring the appellant to pay maintenance to his wife as a condition for securing anticipatory bail.
The Court found no reason to interfere with the decision of the High Court and dismissed the special leave petition filed by the appellant.
The Court recorded in its order,
"...having carefully perusing the material placed on record, we see no reason to interfere with the impugned order passed by the High Court. The special leave petition is, accordingly, dismissed."
The appellant in this case had sought anticipatory bail under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. While granting the same, the Patna High Court had imposed a condition that he would have to pay a monthly maintenance of Rs 20,000 to his wife.
When this order was sought to be modified, the High Court rejected the plea for modification prompting the appellant to approach the Supreme Court. In his SLP, the appellant raised a number of questions of law such as whether imposition of such a condition is within the powers and jurisdiction of the Court under Section 438.
It was argued in the petition that while imposing a condition of this nature which is "not called for" under Section 438, the object of seeking anticipatory bail gets frustrated. The provision stipulates conditions such as those that ensure cooperation of the accused in investigation et al. It was averred that a condition of payment of maintenance is unjustified, and that questions pertaining to maintenance ought to be left to be decided by courts of competent jurisdiction.
An order for paying maintenance in a case concerning anticipatory bail is "onerous, unwarranted and beyond jurisdiction" the petition stated.
The petition also drew support from the Apex Court's judgments which have held against the imposition of "freakish conditions" by the High Courts and Session Courts while exercising their jurisdiction under Section 438. The petition says,
"while imposing conditions on an accused who approaches the Court under section 438 of the Code, the Court should be extremely chary in imposing conditions and should not transgress its jurisdiction or power by imposing the conditions which are not called for at all. There is no manner of doubt that the conditions to be imposed under section 438 of the Code cannot be harsh, onerous or excessive so as to frustrate the very object of grant of anticipatory bail under section 438 of the Code."
Additionally, the plea also submitted that the arguing counsel before the High Court made an erroneous oral submission about the willingness of the petitioner to pay maintenance, and that he had no instructions to submit the same. Since the appellant was not present before the Court, the submission in favour of paying maintenance could not be verified from him, the appellant claimed.
Moreover, no application for maintenance had been filed by the petitioner's wife since 2018, the petition underlines. In light of this, it was argued that a submission seeking maintenance should not be allowed to be made by the wife during proceedings for anticipatory bail.
The Supreme Court, however, found no reason to interfere with the High Court's order.
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