Karnataka High Court Grants Anticipatory Bail in Vehicle Theft Case
Kallappa Muduku S/O Ashok vs The State Of Karnataka
9 May, 2023
Bench: Hon’ble Ramachandra D. Huddar
In a recent ruling, the Karnataka High Court granted anticipatory bail to the petitioner, Sri Kallappa, in a vehicle theft case registered under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code. The case, Crime No. 228/2020, was pending before the I Additional Civil Judge and Judicial Magistrate First Class-I at Vijayapura. The court’s decision came after considering various factors, including the petitioner’s claim of innocence, the delay in filing the complaint, and the nature of the offense. This blog provides an overview of the case and the court’s reasoning behind granting anticipatory bail.
The petitioner, Sri Kallappa, a 25-year-old driver residing in Vijayapura, was accused of stealing a motorcycle belonging to the complainant. The incident allegedly occurred on January 16, 2020, but the complaint was filed on December 16, 2020, with a considerable delay of 11 months. The petitioner claimed that he was in judicial custody in another case (No. 301/2020) at the time of the alleged theft. After completing the investigation, the police filed a charge-sheet, and the Magistrate took cognizance of the offense, making it a compoundable offense. However, the petitioner was apprehensive of being arrested, leading him to seek anticipatory bail.
The petitioner’s counsel argued that the petitioner was innocent and had not committed the offense as alleged. They highlighted the significant delay in filing the complaint and the petitioner’s previous judicial custody in a different case. The complainant had lodged the complaint while the petitioner was in custody, and the petitioner had subsequently been granted bail in that case. The defense also emphasized that the offense was triable by a Magistrate and not exclusively punishable with death or life imprisonment. The petitioner expressed willingness to comply with any conditions imposed by the court.
The respondent’s counsel objected to the petition, contending that since a non-bailable warrant (NBW) had been issued against the petitioner, he was not entitled to anticipatory bail.
After hearing the arguments from both sides and examining the records, the court observed that the petitioner had been charge-sheeted for the offense under Section 379 of the IPC. It also noted that the petitioner had been produced under a body warrant but subsequently failed to appear in court, resulting in the issuance of an NBW. The court acknowledged the principle laid down by the Supreme Court, stating that when an accused is absconding or has an outstanding warrant, anticipatory bail is generally not granted.
However, considering that the offense was triable by a Magistrate and that the petitioner could surrender before the I Additional Civil Judge and JMFC-I at Vijayapura, the court decided to dispose of the petition. The court directed the petitioner to surrender before the court, file a bail application, and request the recall of the NBW. It requested the concerned court to hear these applications on the same day, taking into account the Supreme Court’s judgment in Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar (2014) 8 SCC 273. The prosecution was also directed to cooperate in this process.
In this particular case, the Karnataka High Court granted anticipatory bail to the petitioner, Sri Kallappa, in a vehicle theft case. The court considered various factors, including the petitioner’s claim of innocence, the delay in filing the complaint, and the nature of the offense, before making its decision. By allowing the petitioner to surrender before the court and file necessary applications, the court ensured that the matter would be handled appropriately, adhering to the principles of justice.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY SHREEYA S SHEKAR