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Bail cannot be granted solely on the grounds of parity of order given to the co-accused: Allahabad High court.

A bail cannot be granted to the other accused on the footing of parity if the co-accused obtained bail by misrepresentation of facts. Such orders have no persuasive value on the court. This was decreed by the Hon’ble Justice Sanjay Kumar Singh in the case of Dheeraj Kumar Shukla Vs. State of U.P. [CRIMINAL MISC. BAIL APPLICATION No. – 42092 of 2020] on the 6th of July 2021 before the Hon’ble High court of Allahabad.

The brief facts of the case are, the respondent- State police, got information about illegal trafficking of Ganja on 23.06.2020. They saw 2 cars, white colored Swift Dzire car and grey coloured Honda City.  On the information by the informant, the police caught the care and questioned them. This interrogation revealed that the accused persons, who were sitting in Honda City car, disclosed their names as Praveen Maurya alias Punit Maurya (owner), Rishabh Kumar (Driver) and Dhiraj Maurya, whereas person, who was driving Swift Dzire car disclosed his name as Dheeraj Kumar Shukla (applicant). A search of the vehicles was performed where, 92.410 Kgs. of Ganja were recovered from the dicky of Honda City car and 65.160 Kgs. of Ganja were recovered from the dicky of Swift Dzire car. On the basis of aforesaid recovery, a case was registered against the accused persons at Case Crime No. 0532 of 2020, under section 8/20 of N.D.P.S. Act. The present bail application is filed before this court on the grounds of parity of order issued against the co-accused Rishabh Kumar granting bail on 31.05.2021.

The counsel for the applicant submitted that, asper the facts of the case, the car being driven by the co-accused Rishabh Kumar was found with 92.410 Kgs of Ganja but this very court had granted him bail and prayed to be released on bail on the ground of parity. It was also further submitted that, the investigating officer had not followed the procedure of NDPS act and the accused was falsely implicated. The counsel for the respondent submitted that, the court in granting bail to Rishabh Kumar has not considered the provisions of section 37 of the NDPS act and has accepted the wrong submissions on behalf of the co-accused. It further submitted that, there was no enmity between the applicant and respondent and the huge amount of Ganja recovered was impossible to be planted. Thus, the ground of false implication would not stand.

The learned judge heard both the counsels and answered whether the applicant is entitled to be released on bail only on the ground of parity of bail order dated 31.05.2021 of co-accused Rishabh Kumar. Section 37 of the NDPS act states that the commercial quantity of Ganja is 20 Kgs but the recovered quantity was much more than the commercial quantity. The court believed that the co-accused was granted bail without considering the provisions of section 37 of the NDPS act. It was wrongly argued by the counsel for co-accused by misrepresenting facts and the court in the present case decreed, “this Court is of the considered view that if co-accused obtained bail by misrepresentation of facts, other accused on same footing are not entitled to bail on the ground of parity, ergo order dated 31.05.2020 is not helpful to the applicant.”

 The apex court relied on Sonu vs Sonu Yadav and another, AIR 2021 SC 201, wherein, “The administration of criminal justice by the High Court cannot be reduced to a mantra containing a recitation of general observations. That there has been a judicious application of mind by the judge who is deciding an application under Section 439 of the CrPC must emerge from the quality of the reasoning which is embodied in the order granting bail. While the reasons may be brief, it is the quality of the reasons which matters the most. That is because the reasons in a judicial order unravel the thought process of a trained judicial mind. We are constrained to make these observations because the reasons indicated in the judgment of the High Court in this case are becoming increasingly familiar in matters which come to this Court. It is time that such a practice is discontinued and that the reasons in support of orders granting bail comport with a judicial process which brings credibility to the administration of criminal justice.” Applying this rationale, the court ruled that, bail order has no persuasive value on the court and the ground of parity submitted by the applicant is rejected. The bail application was rejected by the judge who said that, “I do not find any reasonable ground in terms of Section 37 of the N.D.P.S. Act to hold that applicant is not guilty of an offence and he is not likely to commit any offence while on bail”.

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