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State of Maharashtra Vs. Sher Ali Mohamed Sadique and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Application No. 81 of 1983
Judge
Reported in1983(1)BomCR625
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1973 - Sections 437; Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 302 and 307
AppellantState of Maharashtra
RespondentSher Ali Mohamed Sadique and ors.
Appellant AdvocateJ.A. Barday, P.P.
Respondent AdvocateLachhaman Raja and ;J.P. Dubey, Advs. for respondent Nos. 1 and 3, ;Prabhakar Vaidya and ;D.S. Padwal, Advs. for respondent No. 2
Excerpt:
.....and circumstances of case magistrate had no jurisdiction and justification to enlarge accused of bail - bail order granted by magistrate liable to be set aside. - - the state however, was not satisfied with the said interim order and, therefore, moved this court in criminal application no. 5000/- with one surety in the like amount with an option of giving cash bail of rs. an equally unusual order has been passed by the learned magistrate, which does not make rather a happy reading. it is rather difficult to reproduce the gist of the order in a faithful manner since it contains more confusion rather than any rationale and, therefore, the best thing would be to reproduce that order verbatim, as :miss samant, advocate for accused present. 7. as regards the other application of the..........offence was changed on december 21, 1982. in between i.e. during the period of remand an interim bail application was filed on behalf of the said two accused on december 17, 1982. this was, however, on the forum of the learned metropolitan magistrate, bandra who was pleased to grant even interim bail in the sum of rs. 2500/- with a condition annexed to report to the said police station on every monday. this was perhaps as by that time the offence was one under section 307 as the victim was alive. the state however, was not satisfied with the said interim order and, therefore, moved this court in criminal application no. 1448 of 1982 when rule was granted on december 22, 1982 making it returnable on january 10, 1983. the further development, however, is more disturbing, which came into.....
Judgment:

V.S. Kotwal, J.

1. The proceedings depicts not only transgression of limits by the learned Magistrate of his jurisdiction but more disturbing features is that the impugned order does not contain even a grain of reasoning so as to infer application of mind and one is really constrained to observe that an obviously serious matter has been dealt with in rather a casual manner. An incident occurred at about 8 p.m. on a public street near over head bridge in Santacruz area of this city, which according to prosecution was quite ghastly. It is alleged that one Salauddin was proceeding by the road completely unaware of the tragedy that was to occur when all of a sudden about 5-6 persons, who were present in the vicinity directed their attention towards him as a target. Most of them were armed with words and were brandishing those weapons so that members of the public who were present at the spot would dare not go to the rescue of the victim. After having secured this position, it was Sher Ali Mohamed Sadique, who is the first respondent herein, was more active when he took out a revolver and before the victim could realise the implication, he fired shots at him from a close distance causing injuries to the arm as also the abdomen. It is further disclosed by the material collected by the police that the bullet injury caused in the abdomens was through and through. Inspite of that, the victim mustered some strength and started running from spot shouting loudly, though holding stomach with his hands. As luck would have it some constables were in the vicinity. One out of the mis-creates chased the said victim Salauddin and it is alleged that even in that condition he was assaulted with sword. Not only that but as per the allegations, even one of the constables by name Borate was also assaulted by the sword by one of the miscreants and the constable also sustained injuries. Salauddin obviously could not travel a considerable distance and soon collapsed. The intimation was given to the Santacruz Police Station. By the time, however, the police could arrive at the spot, Salauddin was removed to Nanavati Hospital and when the police arrived at the spot they found one person Dinanath equally seriously injured. However, the prosecution are not in a position to affirmatively say that Dinanath was injured in the course of the same transaction and it is stated by the prosecution that case was being investigated on the basis of different C.R. number with same Police Station. That, therefore, need not detain us. Salauddin was medically treated since the injuries were apparently serious. Unfortunately he succumbed to the injuries on December 21, 1982. Initially an offence under section 307 of the Penal Code read with section 149 and other allied offences was registered at the said Police Station under C.R. No. 925 of 1982. This was obviously changed to one under section 302 in view of death of Salauddin on December 21, 1982. Investigation is still in progress. The police have been able to contact nearly four eye witnesses out of whom one or two persons have actually named the three respondents herein as being the members of the unlawful assembly and armed with those weapons, and it was the first respondent, who fired the shots. It may also be observed that after Salauddin was removed to Nanavati Hospital on that night itself his dying declaration was recorded by Police Inspector, which declaration was treated as F.I.R. when the names of those three respondents along with others are expressely mentioned in the same as being the perpetrators of the crime. The medical evidence as reflected through the case papers and the first certificate on the admission of Salauddin as also his autopsy report ex facie support the prosecution case about the assault by means of revolver and swords. There are gun shot wounds as also punctured wounds. Prima facie at least the cause of death can be safely attributed to the said assault though the deceased might have survived for about 10 days. The prosecution also alleged an element of motive inasmuch as Salauddin and his colleagues were earlier prosecuted, though they were acquitted, and these accused persons were interested in securing conviction and thus this enraged them and this furnishes a motive in addition to the alleged long standing enmity between them. The statements of direct witnesses are quite clear. There was adequate light and the incident occurred almost in the open. It is also alleged that to scare the people shots were fired in the air even after the incident. This pertains to the nature of material collected by the police.

2. The more disturbing feature comes into existence as per the events that are being referred to hereinafter. The respondent Nos. 1 and 2 were arrested on the same night of incident while respondent No. 3 was arrested on December 24, 1982 as he was absconding.

3. It was December 11, 1982, i.e. within 24 hours after the arrest, accused Nos. 1 and 2 were presented before the learned Magistrate at Andheri and they were placed in police custody remand upto December 28, 1982. As stated the nature of offence was changed on December 21, 1982. In between i.e. during the period of remand an interim bail application was filed on behalf of the said two accused on December 17, 1982. This was, however, on the forum of the learned Metropolitan Magistrate, Bandra who was pleased to grant even interim bail in the sum of Rs. 2500/- with a condition annexed to report to the said Police Station on every Monday. This was perhaps as by that time the offence was one under section 307 as the victim was alive. The State however, was not satisfied with the said interim order and, therefore, moved this Court in Criminal Application No. 1448 of 1982 when rule was granted on December 22, 1982 making it returnable on January 10, 1983. The further development, however, is more disturbing, which came into existence after the victim died and the nature of offence was changed. It was on December 22, 1982 that both these accused were rearrested obviously because the offence transpired was one under section 302 and they were again placed before the learned Metropolitan Magistrate, Bandra for remand. Accused No. 3 in the meanwhile came to be arrested on December 24, 1982. He was also placed before the same Magistrate for remand, though on December 25, 1982. The learned Magistrate remanded all the three accused to the police custody upto 5th January, 1983. It is on 5th January, 1983 that an application for bail came to be filed on behalf of all the three accused, which was stoutly opposed on behalf of the prosecution. That application came to be decided on 6th January, 1983 and the learned Magistrate quite surprisingly recorded only a cryptic order that all the three accused be enlarged on bail in the sum of Rs. 5000/- with one surety in the like amount with an option of giving cash bail of Rs. 5000/- stipulation was annexed that they shall not enter into the area which falls within the jurisdiction of Santacruz Police Station and that they shall observe peace wherever they stay and they were further directed to attend the Court on each of the remand dates. It was revealed by the police that these accused were found moving in the prohibited area on January 13, 1983. Therefore, on January 17, 1983 Police Inspector filed an application before the said Court for cancellation of bail on the additional ground that the condition annexed to the bail has been violated. An equally unusual order has been passed by the learned Magistrate, which does not make rather a happy reading. It is rather difficult to reproduce the gist of the order in a faithful manner since it contains more confusion rather than any rationale and, therefore, the best thing would be to reproduce that order verbatim, as :---

'Miss Samant, Advocate for accused present.

The P.I. Santacruz to arrest accused if they are found within the jurisdiction of Santacruz Police Station even though they are on bails. Miss Samant Advocate prays time till 6 a.m. tomorrow to inform accused and hence the police to execute order of arrest from 6 a.m. on 18-1-83 Tuesday'.

The net result of this order obviously was that the application by the prosecution came to be filed while the concession of liberty granted to the accused to be continued. Exception is taken to that order also.

4. It is true that initially interim bail was granted on 17th December, 1982 when the offence was one under section 307. Two accused were re-arrested on 22nd December, 1982 while the third was arrested on 24th December and all were remanded to police custody upon 5th January, 1983. Even though the offence by then was registered under section 302, the bail application dated 5th January was granted on the 6th January. The alleged breach of condition was committed on 13th January for which application came to be filed on the 17th January. Though, therefore, the State has filed this application even before the bail was granted on 6th and even before the application was filed on 17th January still it would not be proper to prohibit the State to rely on these features even in this proceedings since all events form a composite and integrated picture and cannot be viewed in isolation. Further no prejudice is being caused to the defence by adopting this course.

5. As regards the order of bail, which was styled as interim bail granted on 17th December, 1982, much can be said in favour of the prosecution even though by then offence was one under section 307 and the victim was alive. It is only the nature of the offence but all the attendant circumstances that are required to be viewed in totality. The victim was still in the hospital and investigation was incomplete. Ostensibly at least the manner of the assault is quite serious when deadly weapons were utilised. The prosecution has, therefore, rightly opposed granting of bail. The propriety of that order itself is open to exception. However, even assuming in favour of the trial Court that he was justified in granting bail one is really perplexed as to how that justification could be extended in favour of the trial Court even after the accused were rearrested after the death of the victim when the offence prima facie was one under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. As stated, the order dated 6th January, 1983 under which the accused were released on bail does not contain even a grain of any reasoning much less element suggesting application of mind by the trial Court. It is not clear whether the papers of investigation were perused by the learned Magistrate. However, a statement is made at the bar on behalf of the respondent on instructions that the papers were called for by the learned Magistrate. If that be so then it creates a still further inconvenient situation for the Court, inasmuch as if the papers were really read then it is hardly doubtful whether any such order could have been passed.

6. As regards the jurisdiction of the learned Magistrate while dealing with the offences punishable with death or imprisonment for life in the matter of granting bail having regard to the provisions contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure including section 437, it is no doubt true that there is no outright ban or prohibition for the Magistrate to entertain such an application and even to grant bail in a fit case. However, there are obvious limitations circumscribing that jurisdiction, since a limited field is carved out for vesting such jurisdiction within the frame work of those provisions. That aspect has been elaborately dealt by this Court in Dr. Datta Samant v. The State of Maharashtra 1981 Bombay C R 193, to which I am a party. It is unnecessary to restate those principles. Having regard to the facts and circumstances of this case, it is difficult even to conceive that the jurisdiction could be vested in the Magistrate to grant bail in view of the ratio of the said case. I have already indicated the pattern of evidence collected by the police. In my opinion, therefore, the learned Magistrate had obviously transgressed the limits of his jurisdiction. The more disturbing feature, however, is that he has not bothered to subscribe even a single reason in support of his order and that itself indicates rather a causal approach adopted in such a serious matter. Therefore, even assuming the permissibility of granting bail in his favour, still the necessity of assigning the reasons cannot be dispensed with. The order contains more deficiencies than any credence. It is thus clear that having regard to the nature of the allegations and the evidence so far collected, the magistrate could not have released the accused on bail.

7. As regards the other application of the prosecution, dated 13th January, 1983 which was disposed of on 17th January, 1983, it makes an equally interesting reading of the situation. As stated, the area within the jurisdiction of Santacruz Police Station was banded for the accused as a condition of bail. The police alleged that the accused were seen in that locality on the 13th January and immediately moved the Court. That application came to be disposed of on 17th January. I have already quoted the order passed by the learned Magistrate which ex facie tends to convey that he was not prepared to take cognizance of the said lapse that occurred prior to that date but he was rather charitable in observing that the police were at liberty to arrest the accused if anybody of them was found in the prohibited area and this time was to be commenced from 6 a.m. on 18th January. It is clear as rightly stated by the learned Public Prosecutor Shri Barday, that what the learned Magistrate conveyed to the police was that if any accused was found in that prohibited area any time from 6 a.m. on 18th January then only they were to be arrested. It was not what the police had asked, for and significantly the learned Magistrate did not scribe a word in his order as to what he intended to do about the lapse that was already committed by the accused prior to 17th January. Hardly any further comments are necessary to style this order also as equally vulnerable.

8. Shri Vaidya and Shri Padwal, the learned Counsel for the respondent accused, strongly submit that notwithstanding the so called deficiency in the orders passed by the learned Magistrate from time to time their clients should not be penalised for the said lapse and according to them, they should be permitted to make a request on this forum to consider their prayer for bail so that resorting to the provisions contained in section 439 of the Code they can still be granted bail or continued to be on bail. It is for that purpose the learned Counsel endeavoured to take me through the so called infirmities in the evidence collected by the police. It is not possible to accede to this request as it would be opening a fresh chapter which would have a different complexion and different considerations so that the prosecution will also have to examine that request in the context of the material collected. There is no formal application so far made on behalf of the respondent when this matter was called out for hearing. As to what considerations would weigh on merits if such an application is made is at this moment more speculative and as such it would not be proper to express any opinion in that behalf. In fact, it is not necessary for me even to consider any such motion, as I am only concerned in this proceeding with the legality and validity of the impugned orders recorded by the learned Magistrate. The minimum, therefore, which is relevant in this proceedings can be observed is that the order recorded by the learned Magistrate are extremely, vulnerable and unsustainable and he had no jurisdiction and justification having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case to enlarge the three accused persons on bail. The alleged breach of condition aggravated the situation. The impugned orders, therefore, cannot be upheld. As stated the request of the defence for considering their prayer for bail on merits under section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure cannot be considered or countenanced in this proceeding. The net result, therefore, would be that accused will have to surrender to the bail since basically the orders recorded by the learned Magistrate are unsustainable.

9. Before parting, a word would not be out of place. In a matter of this magnitude it is expected of a learned Magistrate to record some reasons so as to exhibit not only application of mind but also the process of thinking which could be reflected in those reasons so that its validity can be examined by the Appellate Court. It need not be under estimated that an offence under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code is required to be dealt with on a higher platform where the application of judicial mind is much more necessary. It is equally necessary in such cases that the learned Magistrate should normally peruse the papers of investigation so as to get himself appraised of the material collected so that he can be on better footing if he is inclined to release the accused on bail. A casual approach, as if he was dealing with a petty offence, may be under Bombay Police Act, in such a serious matter, as reflected in this proceeding, hardly makes any happy reading of the situation.

10. I am also tempted to observe that having regard to the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case it is highly debatable whether the learned Magistrate was justified on both the occasions to give an option to the accused to furnish cash security.

11. In the result, Rule is made absolute.

12. The impugned orders dated 17th December, 1982 as also dated 6th January, 1983 enlarging the respondents accused on bail are set aside. The three respondents accused to surrender to their bail forthwith or otherwise the learned Magistrate is directed to issue non-bailable warrants against them.


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