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P L D 2022 Supreme Court 112

P L D 2022 Supreme Court 112

(a) Criminal Procedure Code (V of 1898)—
—-S. 497—Withdrawal of first bail petition without any arguments—Second bail petition, filing of—Fresh grounds—Scope—Withdrawal of an earlier bail petition before addressing any argument on the merits of the case, does not preclude filing of a subsequent bail petition for the same relief on the same grounds before the same court.

   Nazir Ahmed v. State PLD 2014 SC 241 ref.

(b) Criminal Procedure Code (V of 1898)—
—-S. 497—First bail petition before the High Court dismissed as withdrawn with direction to the Trial Court for expeditious conclusion of the trial—Second bail petition, filing of—Fresh grounds—Scope—Non-compliance by the Trial Court of the direction to conclude the trial within the specified period per se is not a fresh ground for bail only to the extent that an accused cannot, claim bail on this ground as a matter of right, but it is certainly a fresh ground to be assessed and examined by the court for exercise of its discretion in either way, in the overall facts and circumstances of the case.

(c) Criminal Procedure Code (V of 1898)—
—-S. 497(1), third and fourth provisos—Bail—Delay in conclusion of the trial—Scope of statutory bail under third proviso to S.497(1), Cr.P.C explained.

(i) The purpose and object of the third proviso to section 497(1), Cr.P.C. is to ensure that the trial of an accused is conducted and concluded expeditiously, and that the pre-conviction detention of an accused does not extend beyond the period of two years in cases involving an offence punishable with death, or one year in other cases;

(ii) The period of one year or two years, as the case may be, for the conclusion of the trial begins from the date of the detention of the accused in the case, not from the date when the charge is framed and trial commenced;

(iii) A statutory right to be released on bail accrues in favour of the accused if his trial is not concluded within the specified period, i.e., exceeding one year or two years as the case may be, from the date of his detention;

(iv) This statutory right of the accused to be released on bail is, however, subject to two exceptions: one is embodied in the 3rd proviso itself and the second is provided in the 4th proviso, which are: (a) the delay in conclusion of the trial is occasioned by an act or omission of the accused or by any other person acting on his behalf, and (b) the accused is a convicted offender for an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life, or is in the opinion of the court a hardened, desperate or dangerous criminal, or is accused of an act of terrorism punishable with death or imprisonment for life;

(v) The act or omission on the part of the accused to delay the timely conclusion of the trial must be the result of a visible concerted effort orchestrated by the accused. Merely some adjournments sought by the counsel for the accused cannot be counted as an act or omission on behalf of the accused to delay the conclusion of the trial, unless the adjournments are sought without any sufficient cause on crucial hearings, i.e., the hearings fixed for examination or cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses, or the adjournments are repetitive reflecting a design or pattern to consciously delay the conclusion of the trial;

(vi) Any delay attributable to the accused after the expiry of the periods stipulated under the 3rd proviso to section 497(1) Cr.P.C. is not relevant for determining his right to be released on bail on the statutory ground; and

(vii) The phrase “a hardened, desperate or dangerous criminal” denotes an accused who is likely to seriously injure and hurt others without caring for the consequences of his violent act and will pose a serious threat to the society if set free on bail. Such tentative finding as to character of the accused must be based upon careful examination of the facts and circumstances of the case, supported by sufficient incriminating material