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The State of Maharashtra Vs. Sudhakar Annaji Jadhav - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revision Application No. 96 of 1976
Judge
Reported in(1977)79BOMLR716; 1977MhLJ34
AppellantThe State of Maharashtra
RespondentSudhakar Annaji Jadhav
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....(b) of rule 184 has been issued specifying rule 43. there is, however, no notification specifying rule 46. clause (b) of rule 184 provides that where the contravention is of a rule specified in a notification issued by the central or state government, the court shall not release the accused on bail unless it is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of such contravention. in the present case, since rule 46 has not been specified by any notification for the purposes of clause (b) of rule 184, it is not necessary for the court to be satisfied before it directs release of the accused on bail that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of the contravention of the rule. 8. in regard to the breach of rule 43, there is,..........(b) of rule 184 has been issued specifying rule 43. there is, however, no notification specifying rule 46. clause (b) of rule 184 provides that where the contravention is of a rule specified in a notification issued by the central or state government, the court shall not release the accused on bail unless it is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of such contravention. in the present case, since rule 46 has not been specified by any notification for the purposes of clause (b) of rule 184, it is not necessary for the court to be satisfied before it directs release of the accused on bail that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of the contravention of the rule. in regard to the offence of the breach of rule 46(1)(b),.....
Judgment:

Sapre, J.

1. This application in revision by the State is directed against an order dated November 21, 1975 passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Aurangabad, releasing the opponent Sudhakar Annaji Jadhav on bail. It is prayed that the said order be set aside and the opponent committed to custody.

2. The opponent Sudhakar and his brother Baburao are standing trial before the Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Aurangabad, for offences punishable under Rule 43(1)(a) read with Sub-rule (5) and Rule 46(1)(6) read with Sub-rule (5) of the Defence of India Rules, 1971, hereinafter referred to as 'the Rules'. It is alleged that when the house of Sudhakar and Baburao was searched on September 4, 1975, a pamphlet called 'Lok Sangharsh Varta Patra' was found in the house and that pamphlet contained material likely to bring into hatred or excite dissatisfaction towards the Government established by law in India.

3. The opponent moved the learned trial Magistrate for bail, who rejected that application by his order dated October 13, 1975. Thereafter, the opponent preferred an application for bail in the Sessions Court, Aurangabad.

4. Rule 184 contains a special provision regarding bail and it is in these words:

184. Special provision regarding bail.-Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (5 of 1898), no person accused or convicted of a contravention of these Rules or orders made thereunder shall, if in custody, be released on bail or on his own bond unless-

(a) the prosecution has been given an opportunity to oppose the application for such release, and

(b) where the prosecution opposes the application and the contravention is of any such provision of these Rules or orders made thereunder as the Central Government or the State Government may by notified order specify in this behalf, the Court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty o such contravention.

There was no dispute that the requirements of Clause (a) of the Rule were satisfied, inasmuch as a notice of the application for bail was given to the prosecution. The application for bail was opposed by the prosecution. The learned Additional Sessions Judge held that the requirement in Clause (b) that the Court shall not release on bail a person accused or convicted of a contravention of any of the Rules, unless it is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of such contravention, applies only if the contravention is of a Rule which the Central or State Government specified by a notification. In the instant case, the contravention alleged was of Rules 43(1)(a) and 46(1)(b) and no notification by the Central or State Government had been produced to show that these had been specified for the purposes of Clause (b) of Rule 184. Therefore, the question of granting bail will have to be decided not with regard to the special provision regarding bail contained in Rule 184 but as in any other ordinary case. For breach of Rule 43(1)(a), the punishment prescribed is imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years and for breach of Rule 46(1)(b), the punishment prescribed is imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years. The bail could, therefore, be granted in respect of the offences. The learned Additional Sessions Judge held, in the alternative, that even if Clause (b) of Rule 184 were applicable on the assumption that the Central or State Government has issued a notification specifying contravention of Rules 43 and 46 for the purposes of the above clause, he was satisfied that there were reasonable grounds for believing that the opponent was not guilty of the said contravention. When the house was searched on September 4, 1975, the opponent was out of Aurangabad. His brother was in the house. There was nothing to show that the pamphlet was found in the box of the room occupied by the opponent or that he had conscious possession of the same. There was nothing to show that he had knowledge of the existence of the pamphlet in the house. As regards the prejudicial acts, there was no evidence to show that the opponent had indulged in these. Therefore, the opponent could be released on bail.

5. I have already reproduced Rule 184. It is also necessary to notice Rule 43(1)(a) and Sub-rule (5) thereof as also Rule 46(1)(b) and Sub-rule (5) thereof. Rule 43(1)(a) provides that no person shall, without lawful authority or excuse, do any prejudicial act. Sub-rule (5) thereof provides that if any person contravenes any of the provisions of the Rule, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. Rule 46(1)(b) provides that no person shall, without lawful authority or excuse, have in his possession any document containing any prejudicial report. Sub-rule (5) thereof provides that if any person contravenes any of the provisions of the Rule, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

6. It is not disputed on behalf of the prosecution that in the absence of Rule 184, if the application of the opponent for bail were to be considered as in other ordinary case, the opponent could be released on bail as the offences for which he has been prosecuted are punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years and three years respectively. Two questions, therefore, mainly arise for decision in this revision application:

(1) Whether the question of granting bail on the facts of the case had to be considered in relation to Rule 184 or whether that question had to be considered as in any other ordinary case.

(2) If the question of granting bail on the facts of the case had to be considered only under Rule 184, whether the bail granted by the learned Additional Sessions Judge was in conformity with that Rule.

7. Before the learned Additional Sessions Judge, the prosecution was not able to produce any notification specifying Rules 43 and 46 for the purposes of Clause (b) of Rule 184. In this Court, however, a notification bearing No. SB/III/DOR 0974/7 dated May 14, 1974 of the Home Department of the Government of Maharashtra, has been produced and it is as follows:

In exercise of the powers conferred by Clause (b), of Rule 184 of the Defence of India Rules, 1971, the Government of Maharashtra hereby specifies Rules 37, 43, 118 and 119 of the said Rules, and the orders made thereunder, and also Rule 169 of the said Rules read with any of the aforesaid rules or orders, as the rules and orders to which the provisions of Clause (b) of the said Rule 184 shall apply.

It will thus be seen that a notification for the purposes of Clause (b) of Rule 184 has been issued specifying Rule 43. There is, however, no notification specifying Rule 46. Clause (b) of Rule 184 provides that where the contravention is of a Rule specified in a notification issued by the Central or State Government, the Court shall not release the accused on bail unless it is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of such contravention. In the present case, since Rule 46 has not been specified by any notification for the purposes of Clause (b) of Rule 184, it is not necessary for the Court to be satisfied before it directs release of the accused on bail that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of the contravention of the Rule. In regard to the offence of the breach of Rule 46(1)(b), therefore the question of granting bail could be considered as in any other ordinary case. As I have stated, there is no dispute that if Rule 184 were not there, there will be no difficulty in granting bail to the opponent in respect of the offence of contravention of Rule 46(1)(b), the maximum punishment for which offence is imprisonment for three years.

8. In regard to the breach of Rule 43, there is, undoubtedly, a notification specifying the above Rule for the purposes of Clause (b) of Rule 184. In respect of this offence, therefore, the accused cannot be released on bail, unless the Court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of the contravention of the Rule. It has already been noticed that Rule 43(1)(a) provides that no person shall, without lawful authority or excuse, do any prejudicial act. There are no allegations of the opponent doing any prejudicial act as such and the only allegation against him is that he was found in possession of a pamphlet called 'Lok Sangharsh Varta Patra', which contained a prejudicial report. But that allegation would squarely constitute an offence under Rule 46(1)(b) read with Sub-rule (5) thereof. When the said act thus specifically or squarely falls under Rule 46(1)(b), it is difficult to hold that it would also fall under Rule 43(1)(a), which is rather in general terms.. In this view of the matter, this was a case where the Court could be said to be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the opponent is not guilty of the contravention of Rule 43(1)(a) and if that be so, the opponent could be released on bail within the terms of Rule 184.

9. Mr. Deo, the learned public prosecutor, has submitted that the effect of Rule 184 is to take away the general power of the Court under the Code of Criminal Procedure of granting bail to a person accused of a contravention of any of the Rules or orders made thereunder. This is clear from the words 'no person accused or convicted of a contravention of these Rules or orders made thereunder shall, if in custody, be released on bail or on his own bond'. An exception, however, is made in the Rule that the Court may Release a person on bail who is accused of a contravention of a Rule which has been specified by the Central or State Government by a notification for the purposes of Clause (b) of Rule 184. This means that in respect of an offence of contravention of a Rule which has not been specified by the Central or State Government by a notification for the purposes of Clause (b) of Rule 184, the exception provided in the Rule is not applicable and there is a total bar on the power of the Court to release the accused on bail. According to Mr. Deo, Rule 184 begins with laying down a total ban on granting bail to a person accused of a contravention of any of the Rules or orders made thereunder. Only an exception is carved to this total ban by providing that where the contravention is of a Rule or orders made thereunder, which Rule has been specified by the Central or State Government by a notification for the purposes of Clause (b) of Rule 184, the accused may be released on bail. Therefore, since there is no notification specifying Rule 46 for the purposes of Clause (b) of Rule 184, the exception cannot apply and the total ban created by Rule 184 in the matter of granting bail will operate and in respect of the offence of breach of Rule 46(1)(b), the opponent cannot at all be released on bail and if the Court releases him on bail, it would be acting beyond its jurisdiction.

10. I find it difficult to accept the above submission of Mr. Deo. There is nothing in Rule 184 by which the general power of Courts of granting bail under the Code of Criminal Procedure has been taken away. Rule 184 merely provides that the person accused of a contravention of the Rules or orders made thereunder shall not be released on bail unless certain conditions are satisfied. The first condition is that the prosecution must be given an opportunity to oppose the application for bail. The second condition is that where the prosecution opposes the application for bail, then where the offence is of contravention of a Rule which has been specified by the Central or State Government in a notification for the purposes of Clause (b) of Rule 184, unless the Court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accused is not guilty of the said contravention, it shall not release the accused on bail. It is true that Rule 184 opens with the words 'Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure' and the Rule further provides that 'no person accused or convicted of a contravention of the Rules or orders made thereunder shall, if in custody, be released on bail'. But both these provisions in the Rule have to be read in the context of Clauses (a) and (b). In framing Rule 184, the object was not to take away the general powers of the Court to grant bail but only to prescribe certain conditions under which bail should be granted in case of certain offences. Those conditions were to prevail notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure. That is the meaning to be ascribed to the opening words 'notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure.' These words cannot be taken to mean that the general powers exercised by Courts of granting bail under the Code of Criminal Procedure were being taken away. The words 'no person accused or convicted of a contravention of these Rules or orders made hereunder shall, if in custody, be released on bail' have also to be read along with Clauses (a) and (b) and the word 'unless' in Rule 184 and those words, therefore, mean that unless the conditions, prescribed in Clauses (a) and (b) were satisfied, the person accused of a contravention of the Rules shall not be released on bail.

11. In the result, therefore, so far as the contravention of Rule 46(1)(b) is concerned, there is no notification specifying the said Rule for the purposes of Clause (b) of Rule 184. It was, therefore, not obligatory on the Court to be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the opponent is not, guilty of the contravention of the said Rule before directing his release on bail. In regard to the breach of Rule 46(1)(b), therefore, his application for bail had to be considered as in any other ordinary case. If it is so considered, for the reasons already indicated, the Court was justified in releasing him on bail. In regard to the breach of Rule 43(1)(a), although this Rule has been specified in the notification issued by the State Government for the purposes of Clause (b) of Rule 184, both the conditions which had to be satisfied before the opponent could be directed to be released on bail have been satisfied in this case. The condition in Clause (a) has been satisfied, inasmuch as the prosecution had been given an opportunity to oppose the application for bail and that in Clause (b) was also satisfied because the Court had found that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the opponent is not guilty of the contravention of Rule 43(1)(b). There was no evidence or even an allegation that the opponent had done any prejudicial act apart from his being found in possession of a pamphlet containing a prejudicial report. But the latter act is a specific offence under Rule 46(1)(b) read with Sub-rule (5) thereof and, therefore, it would not fall under Rule 43(1)(a) which is in general terms. The learned Additional Sessions Judge was, therefore, justified in releasing the opponent on bail. The application filed by the State, therefore, fails and is dismissed. The Rule is discharged.


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