Vivek Singh Thakur, J. -
(1.)These bail applications, filed by petitioners under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as 'Cr.P.C.'), seeking anticipatory bail, apprehending their arrest, in case FIR No.78 of 2020, dated 22.6.2020, registered, under Sections 147, 148, 149, 323, 307 & 341 of the Indian Penal Code, in Police Station Majra, District Sirmour, Himachal Pradesh, adjudicated on the basis of common record and submissions, are being decided together by this common judgment.
(2.)Section 438 of the Cr.P.C., as existing on date, reads as under:
"438. Direction for grant of bail to person apprehending arrest. - (1) Where any person has reason to believe that he may be arrested on accusation of having committed a non-bailable offence, he may apply to the High Court or the Court of Session for a direction under this section that in the event of such arrest he shall be released on bail; and that Court may, after taking into consideration, inter alia, the following factors, namely:--
(i) the nature and gravity of the accusation;
(ii) the antecedents of the applicant including the fact as to whether he has previously undergone imprisonment on conviction by a Court in respect of any cognizable offence;
(iii) the possibility of the applicant to flee from justice; and
(iv) where the accusation has been made with the object of injuring or humiliating the applicant by having him so arrested, either reject the application forthwith or issue an interim order for the grant of anticipatory bail:
Provided that, where the High Court or, as the case may be, the Court of Session, has not passed any interim order under this sub-section or has rejected the application for grant of anticipatory bail, it shall be open to an officer in-charge of a police station to arrest, without warrant the applicant on the basis of the accusation apprehended in such application.
(1A) Where the Court grants an interim order under sub-section (1), it shall forthwith cause a notice being not less than seven days notice, together with a copy of such order to be served on the Public Prosecutor and the Superintendent of Police, with a view to give the Public Prosecutor a reasonable opportunity of being heard when the application shall be finally heard by the Court.
(1B) The presence of the applicant seeking anticipatory bail shall be obligatory at the time of final hearing of the application and passing of final order by the Court, if on an application made to it by the Public Prosecutor, the Court considers such presence necessary in the interest of justice.
(2) When the High Court or the Court of Session makes a direction under subsection (1), it may include such conditions in such directions in the light of the facts of the particular case, as it may thinks fit, including-
(i) a condition that the person shall make himself available for interrogation by a police officer as and when required;
(ii) a condition that the person shall not, directly or indirectly, make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the Court or to any police officer;
(iii) a condition that the person shall not leave India without the previous permission of the Court;
(iv) such other condition as may be imposed under sub-section (3) of section 437, as if the bail were granted under that section.
(3) If such person is thereafter arrested without warrant by an officer in charge of a police station on such accusation, and is prepared either at the time of arrest or at any time while in the custody of such officer to give bail, he shall be released on bail, and if a Magistrate taking cognizance of such offence decides that a warrant should issue in the first instance against that person, he shall issue a bailable warrant in conformity with the direction of the Court under sub-section (1)."
(3.)It is noticeable that there was no specific provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, empowering the Court to grant bail to a person apprehending his arrest, as this provision was introduced, for the first time, in the Cr.P.C. in 1973. Necessity of such provision was felt by the Law Commission of India long ago, in the year 1969, by observing in its 41st Report (Volume-I) in Para-39.9, as under:
"The suggestion for directing the release of a person on bail prior to his arrest (commonly known as "anticipatory bail") was carefully considered by us. Though there is a conflict of judicial opinion about the power of a Court to grant anticipatory bail, the majority view is that there is no such power under the existing provisions of the Code. The necessity for granting anticipatory bail arises mainly because sometimes influential persons try to implicate their rivals in false cases for the purpose of disgracing them or for other purposes by getting them detained in jail for some days. In recent times, with the accentuation of political rivalry, this tendency is showing signs of steady increase. Apart from false cases, where there are reasonable grounds for holding that a person accused of an offence is not likely to abscond, or otherwise misuse his liberty while on bail, there seems no justification to require him first to submit to custody, remain in prison for some days and then apply for bail.
We recommend the acceptance of this suggestion. We are further of the view that this special power should be conferred only on the High Court and the Court of Session, and that the order should take effect at the time of arrest or thereafter."