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No anticipatory bail to advocate for filing multiple bogus claims motor accident case: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court anticipatory bail to advocate for filing multiple bogus claims in a motor accident case through Justice VIBHA KANKANWADI in the case of Vijaydatta Patil vs State of Maharashtra (ANTICIPATORY BAIL APPLICATION NO.418 OF 2022)

FACTS OF THE CASE:

Both the applicants were apprehending their arrest in connection to crimes registered with Tamalwadi Police Station for the offence punishable under Section 166, 166-A, 167, 196, 202, 203, 209, 406, 418, 463, 464, 465, 468, 471, 120-B read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The applicant in Anticipatory Bail Application No.418  was a Police Constable attached to Police Chowki, Civil Hospital, Solapur and the applicant in Anticipatory Bail Application No.382 was the practising Advocate at Osmanabad.

Advocate Vijaydatta Patil was arrested for reportedly assisting the relatives of a deceased man in establishing that another vehicle was involved in the accident. After learning that the deceased died due to his error and that he did not have a licence, the family was instructed that in order to claim compensation, another tractor and driver with a licence would have to be proved as the negligent party. Aside from Patil, Abhijeet Gaikwad, a police constable from the Solapur district, was arrested for allegedly fabricating records by changing the tractor number involved in the accident.

JUDGEMENT:

The Court noted that the filing of false cases is increasing. It is only with an intention to get more compensation. It was observed that the police constable had no authority to investigate as per the scheme of Code of Criminal Procedure. Also, the report that was forwarded for Postmortem bears his signature. Therefore, though the applicant may be a subordinate, it cannot be concluded that he would have taken some active part. His custodial interrogation was unnecessary; therefore, he deserves anticipatory bail.

When the inquiry was contemplated, Advocate Vijaydatta Patil recorded the statements of the deceased’s relatives. In their statements, they categorically stated that immediately following the death of Mahadu Ghodke, the applicant went to the house and inquired about the manner in which the accident had occurred. It is not out of place to highlight that it is common practice for many Advocates to call the relatives of the deceased or the injured immediately following the tragedy.

Advocate Mr. Patil assured the relatives of enhanced compensation by stating that compensation is not possible unless some other tractor is shown to be involved in the accident. It appeared that the vehicle number was inserted when in fact on the day of the accident the tractor which was driven by deceased Mahadu was not registered with RTO at all. So also, when the negligence was of Mahadu, on the say of Advocate Mr. Patil the brother-in-law of the deceased agreed to become accused. That means, as per the inquiry that has been carried out and the prosecution story the Advocate is the mastermind of the design for the claim petition.

Police files were also revealed, and it appeared that the record was acquired from the Case Information System, indicating that he had filed approximately 314 Motor Accident Claim Petitions and Execution Petitions, all of which are pending with the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Osmanabad.

It was observed that “An Advocate is the officer of the Court. No doubt, he pleads for his client, but he should be honest to the profession, towards Court as well as towards his client. Under such circumstance, for any such professional misconduct he is adopting forged documents or getting certain documents fabricated, then, he is rather defaming the entire fraternity of Advocates. “

The purported crime committed by him is unquestionably severe. Whether or not custodial questioning is required is one of the problems, but whether or not the Court should exercise extraordinary discretionary relief in favour of such an individual is another, and the answer was unequivocal “no.” 

Thus, only Anticipatory Bail Application No.418 was allowed.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY

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