Preet Pal Singh v. The State of Uttar Pradesh
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 520 OF 2020 [ARISING OUT OF SLP (CRL.) No.2102 OF 2019] decided on 14th August 2020
Bench- Indira Banerjee and Arun Mishra,JJ.
The deceased victim’s father filed SLP against the order of Allahabad High Court granting bail to accused post-conviction during pendency of appeal. Deceased was married to the accused and died due to unnatural death within 8 months of marriage. Victim’s family made accusation against the husband’s family for repetitive demand of dowry owing to which they started harassing the victim mentally and physically. The Sessions Court tried the case and convicted the accused u/s 498A, 304B 406 of IPC and section 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act. Accused file an appeal to Allahabad HC against the said judgment interalia praying for bail while the pendency of appeal. High Court granted bail to accused and aggrieved by the same the victim’s family filed special leave petition in Supreme Court.
Whether the High Court was justified in granting bail under S.389 of CrPC?
The Supreme Court set aside the impugned order of bail and allowed the appeal. The Court said that in post-conviction cases, there is a finding of guilt and therefore the question of presumption of innocence does not arise unlike in usual Bail cases under S.439 CrPC. The Court further said that in cases of S. 389 CrPC there is the no application of principle of bail being the rule and jail an exception. Rather in such cases, the Court should consider the prima facie merits of the appeal, coupled with other factors as there should be strong compelling reasons for grant of bail, notwithstanding an order of conviction, by suspension of sentence, and this strong and compelling reason must be recorded in the order granting bail, as mandated in Section 389(1) of the CrPC.
In the present case, there is evidence of demand of dowry, which the Trial Court has considered. The death took place within 7 or 8 months and there is oral evidence of the parents of cruelty and torture immediately preceding the death. There is also evidence of payment of Rs.2,50,000/- to the Accused by the victim’s brother. In light of above circumstances, the Court set aside the impugned order of bail and allowed the appeal.