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Once bail is granted, it should not be cancelled in a mechanical manner without there being any supervening circumstances: High Court of Delhi

Rejection of bail when bail is applied for is one thing and cancellation of bail already granted is quite another. It is easier to reject a bail application in a non-bailable case than to cancel a bail already granted. Cancellation of bail necessarily involves the review of a decision already made and can by and large be permitted only if by reason of supervening circumstances. Once bail is granted, it should not be cancelled in a mechanical manner without there being any supervening circumstances which are not conducive to fair trial. These were stated by High Court of Delhi, consisting Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar in the case of Air Customs vs. Shail Anand & Anr. [CRL.M.C. 2017/2020] on 10.01.2022.

The facts of the case are that on the basis of specific intelligence, the officers of Air Customs had recovered and seized 04 watches valued at Rs. 51,55,887 from the possession of the respondents on arrival at T-3 of New Delhi airport by Flight from Dubai to Delhi on 24.09.2020. In their respective voluntary statements tendered under Section 108 of Customs Act, 1962 the persons namely Shail Anand, Tarush Anand, Ankit Madan and Anil Madan inter-alia admitted the recovery, seizure and other incriminating facts. Thereafter, FIR was registered and investigation was taken up. The respondents i.e. Shail Anand, Tarush Anand, Ankit Madan and Anil Madan were granted bail for the offences under sections 132 and 135 of Customs Act, 1962.

The Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the learned CMM while granting bail to the respondents did not deal with all the submissions made on behalf of the petitioner department and none of the judgments cited by the petitioner department were taken into consideration. It was further submitted that learned CMM did not appreciate that watches which are case property in the present case are covered by Section 123 of the Customs Act, 1962 and also the plea of the petitioner department that investigation was going on and grant of bail at the initial stage of investigation particularly in economic offences should be deprecated. It was further submitted that the respondents are not only involved in smuggling of wrist watches but are also part of the hawala racket which is a case of international ramification. Therefore, it was prayed that bail granted to the all the respondents should be cancelled.

The Counsel for the respondents submitted that there are no malafides in the Impugned Order dated passed by learned CMM as the respondents have already deposited the amount as per direction of the learned CMM, towards the Customs duty. It was further submitted that the watches seized at the airport were already released by customs authority and the penalty imposed on the respondents were paid by them. It was contended that there are two essential conditions mandatory for the maintenance of bail being granted to accused, first, that he shall be available for the trial proceedings and he shall not flee from the hands of justice and second that accused will not tamper with the evidence. Therefore, it was submitted that none of the condition can be violated by the respondents as there are no allegations against the respondents that they ever tried to tamper with the evidence. It was lastly submitted that the cancellation can only be done in cases of supervening circumstances which are totally lacking in the present case.

The High Court of Delhi observed that Rejection of bail when bail is applied for is one thing and cancellation of bail already granted is quite another. It is easier to reject a bail application in a non-bailable case than to cancel a bail already granted in such a case. Cancellation of bail necessarily involves the review of a decision already made and can by and large be permitted only if by reason of supervening circumstances, it would be no longer conducive to a fair trial to allow the accused to retain his freedom during the trial. The Court held that it is settled law that once bail is granted, it should not be cancelled in a mechanical manner without there being any supervening circumstances which are not conducive to fair trial. It cannot be cancelled on a request from the side of the complainant/investigating agency unless and until it is established that the same is being misused and it is no longer conducive in the interest of justice to allow the accused any further to remain on bail. In the instant case, there were no allegations of any tampering with the evidences or that the respondents were at a flight risk or there is any likelihood of absconding. Therefore, ingredients required for cancellation of bail were missing, and thus, the present petitions along with pending applications were dismissed.

Judgment reviewed by Shristi Suman. Read Judgment

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