JUSTICE A.K. MOHAPATRA

Basudev Singh v. State of Odisha

Case Number: CRLREV No.34 of 2022

Date of Decision: 31st March 2022

In this case, the Petitioner had challenged the order passed by the Sessions Judge-cum-Special Judge, Phulbani, in Crl. Misc. Case No.27 of 2021, wherein the prayer of the Petitioner to release the vehicle bearing Registration No. OD-24-7214 (Swift Dezire Car) under Section 457 of Cr.P.C. was rejected. The Petitioners had been arrested for alleged commission of offences under Section 20(b)(ii)(C)/25/27 of the NDPS Act, 1985.

The Petitioners contended that the vehicle should not be kept in court premises or police station premises for an indefinite period till conclusion of trial by keeping it exposed to sky, sun and rain and the condition of the vehicle to be deteriorated by remaining idle in the police stations. He has further submitted that in the event the vehicle is not maintained properly and keep stationary at one place, the same would turn into a piece of junk, as a result of which, the value of the vehicle would deteriorate drastically and eventually, it would be sold at a scrap value.

On the other hand, the Opposite Party submitted that the Petitioner was arrested and the vehicle was seized from the spot. Therefore, a prima facie case is well made out against the Petitioner. Further, in the event the vehicle is released, the same might not be available for the Confiscation Proceeding at the conclusion of the trial.

This Court held that no fruitful purpose would be achieved by simply keeping the seized vehicles at the police stations without proper maintenance. The Court placed reliance on the decision of Ashish Ranjan Mohanty v. State of Odisha (W.P.(C) No.31622 of 2021) and remarked that the deteriorating condition of the vehicles and the loss of commercial value could be prevented to a large extent if the vehicle is given on interim release in favour of concerned persons with the terms and conditions. Accordingly, the CRLREV was allowed.

Biswambara Kanhar and Ors. v. State of Odisha

Case Number: CRLREV No.36 of 2022

Date of decision: 20th May, 2022

In this case, the Petitioner had challenged the order dated 12th January 2022 passed by the learned Special Judge, Phulbani in C.T. Case No.19 of 2021 wherein their prayer for default bail under the provisions of Section 167(2) of the Cr.P.C was rejected. The petitioners along with others had been arrested for the offence under Section 20(b)(ii)(C) of the N.D.P.S. Act and as such, they were in judicial custody since 21st December 2021.

It is contended by the Petitioners that they were arrested and remanded to judicial custody on 21st February 2021 and that the chargesheet should have been filed within 180 days i.e. on or before 20th August 2021. Moreover, the Investigating Officer had failed to file the charge-sheet within the aforesaid stipulated period of time and no application as provided in the proviso to Section 36 A (4) of the N.D.P.S. Act was presented to the court to sought for extension of time to file charge-sheet.

On the other hand, it is submitted by the Opposite Party that the statutory period of 180 days completed on 19.03.2021 and, the petitioners were supposed to file the application under Section 167(2), Cr.P.C. on that day itself. However, the Petitioner chose to file the application under Section 167(2), Cr.P.C. on 23.08.2021 rather than 19.08.2021 at their own risk.

The Court observed that the judgment of the Constitution Bench in Sanjay Dutt v. State Through C.B.I Bombay ((1994) 5 SCC 410) cannot be interpreted in a manner so as to give effect to the provision of 167 (2) Cr.P.C. to mean that even where the accused has promptly exercised his right under Section 167(2), Cr.P.C. and indicated his willingness to furnish bail bond, he can be denied bail on account of delay in deciding his application or erroneous rejection of the same. The Court remarked- “In the instant case, the prosecution has used the subsequent filing of charge-sheet as subterfuge to deny the petitioner of his right to go on default bail, which has been statutorily provided under Section 167(2), Cr.P.C.” Accordingly, the CRLREV was allowed.