Decided on February 04,1955

STATE Appellant
SHANTILAL Respondents


- (1.) THE following question has been referred1 by a learned Single Judge for answer by a Division Bench Whether Section 498, Cr. PC gives wider powers to the High Court or the Sessions Judge than those envisaged by Section 497, Cr. PC The question has arisen in connection with an application for cancellation of bail granted by the Sessions Judge Under Section 498. The contention of the Government Advocate is that the conditions laid down in Section 497, Cr. PC govern the grant of bail by the High Court or the Sessions Judge Under Section 498, and that that section does not confer any power on the High Court or the Sessions Judge to give bail irrespective of the conditions mentioned in Section 497.
(2.) CHAPTER XXXIX, Criminal P. C, deals with bail. It begins with Section 496 which provides for bail in bailable cases. Then comes Section 497 which provides for bail in non-bailable cases, and the main restriction provided by Section 497 is that bail shall not be granted if there appear reasonable grounds for believing that the person asking for bail has been guilty of an offence punishable with death or transportation for life. There is an exception to this in the case of persons below 16 years of age, or a woman or any sick or infirm person. The contention of the learned Government Advocate is that Section 498 does not give wider power to the High Court or. the Sessions Judge, and that if an application is made for bail under that section, the High Court or the Sessions Judge has to consider whether the restriction provided in Section 497 applies, and it is not open to the High Court to grant bail on any other consideration.
(3.) SECTION 498 has been on the statute book in one form or another since 1861. The point raised in this reference therefore has been the subject of decision by various High Courts in India, and the consensus of opinion is that this section is independent of Section 497, and gives wide powers to the High Court or the Sessions Judge to grant bail irrespective of the restriction in Section 497. There are a large number of cases in support of this view, and we shall only cite a few leading ones for our purposes.;

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