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Grant or rejection of a bail application has a direct bearing on the fundamental right to life and liberty: High Court of Delhi

It is no longer res integra that any interpretation of the provisions of Section 438 CrPC has to take into consideration the fact that the grant or rejection of a bail application has a direct bearing on the fundamental right to life and liberty of an individual. The genesis of this jurisdiction lies in Article 21 of the Constitution as an effective medium to protect the life and liberty of an individual. The provision therefore needs to be read liberally considering its beneficial nature and the same was upheld by High Court of Delhi through the learned bench led by Justice Chandra Dhari Singh in the case of SANGEETA BHATIA vs. STATE OF NCT OF DELHI [BAIL APPN. NO. 3067/2018] on 14.02.2022.

The facts of the case are that Pawan Bhatia approached M/s. Splendor Landbase Limited and represented that he along with his wife and son were the lawful owners of a land in the revenue estate of Gurgaon which was free from all encumbrances. Based on the aforesaid representations and inducements, the complainant company entered into an MOU with the accused persons. The complainant company was induced into agreeing to pay an amount of Rs. 5 crores to the accused.

It was alleged that the Managing Director of the complainant company sent several messages to Pawan Bhatia requesting to refund the amount but he never replied to such messages. The accused had misappropriated the monies of the Complainant Company and caused wrongful loss to the Complainant Company. The present applications have been filed on behalf of the applicants praying for anticipatory bail.

The applicant’s counsel contended that the applicants are the owner of the land in their individual capacity. It was further submitted that neither Sangeeta Bhatia was a signatory to the Agreement between the complainant and Pawan Bhatia nor any covenant was imposed upon her which she had failed to fulfil. It was contended that even the balance sheet of the complainant company for the said period does not show any amount being paid to the applicants except the amount which has been returned by the applicants.

The respondent’s counsel opposed the instant applications and stated that the applications be rejected as the accused had dishonest intentions since the beginning of the transaction and had defrauded the complainant wilfully. It was further stated that the accused have misappropriated and mis-utilized the monies of the complainant company and caused wrongful loss to the complainant. Thus, the offences committed by the applicants is grave in nature and hence the petitions should be dismissed for granting anticipatory bail.

In view of the aforementioned facts and circumstances, the instant anticipatory bail applications were allowed as the applicants were entitled to indulgence of this Court and this Court was inclined to grant anticipatory bail to the applicants as being prayed for.

The Court observed, “It is no longer res integra that any interpretation of the provisions of Section 438 CrPC has to take into consideration the fact that the grant or rejection of an application has a direct bearing on the fundamental right to life and liberty of an individual. The genesis of this jurisdiction lies in Article 21 of the Constitution as an effective medium to protect the life and liberty of an individual. The provision therefore needs to be read liberally considering its beneficial nature.”

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Judgment reviewed by – Shristi Suman

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