SADHNA CHAUDHARY VERSUS THE STATE OF RAJASTHAN & ANR.

SADHNA CHAUDHARY VERSUS THE STATE OF RAJASTHAN  & ANR.

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले



REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
Criminal Appeal No. 936 of 2022
(Arising out of S.L.P.(Crl.) No.8477 of 2021)
SADHNA CHAUDHARY                     APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
THE STATE OF RAJASTHAN
 & ANR.        RESPONDENT(S)
J U D G M E N T
Vikram Nath, J.
Leave granted.
2. The   appellant   is   the   complainant/victim/
prosecutrix.   She has filed this appeal assailing the
correctness   of   the   judgment   and   order   dated
25.08.2021   passed   by   the   Rajasthan   High   Court,
Bench   at   Jaipur   in   S.B.   Criminal   Misc.   Bail
Application No.6394 of 2021 (Kanwar Pal Singh Vs.
State of Rajasthan), whereby the High Court allowed
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the application for the relief of anticipatory bail under
Section   438   CrPC   in   FIR   No.161   of   2020,   Police
Station­Karni Vihar, Jaipur, under Sections 323, 341,
354, 379 and 376 IPC.
3. As the present case relates to an order granting
anticipatory bail, we are consciously referring to the
facts and the arguments in brief so that none of the
parties are prejudiced or the Trial Court would be
influenced by any of the observations, which may be
made by us in this order.
4. The prosecution story in brief is that, sometimes
in 2018, when the respondent no.2 was posted as a
Station House Officer, Mahila Thana, Jhunjhunu, the
sister of the appellant had made a complaint against
her   in­laws   at   the   same   police   station.   The
respondent   no.2   had   kept   with   himself,   the   Bank
Pass­book, Marriage Registration Certificate, Marriage
Photographs,   Aadhar   Card   and   Birth   Certificate
relating to her sister and had told her to collect the
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same later. On 25.09.2018, when the appellant was
called to collect the papers from the respondent no.2,
and upon her reaching Jhunjhunu, she was informed
that   papers   may   be   collected   from   his   official
residence, where she had to compulsorily go as she
had   to   return   to   Jaipur  on   the   same   day.  At   the
residence, the respondent no.2 offered buttermilk to
the appellant, which she claims to have innocently
consumed, but apparently the same was laced with
drugs   resulting   into   the   appellant   losing   her
consciousness.   When   she   regained   consciousness,
she found herself in a very awkward situation and
immediately realized that she had been exploited by
the respondent no.2. The respondent no.2 is said to
have threatened her that he has made videos and
clicked   photographs   in   obscene   and   objectionable
conditions on his mobile and if she did not continue
to accede to his demands and commands, he would
make everything public. 
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5. The exploitation of the appellant is said to have
continued   for   almost   two   years.   In   May,   2020,
respondent no.2 came to her residence, where she
resides with her husband and children. He forcefully
took   her   in   his   Jeep   to   some   unknown   place,
physically assaulted her, snatched away her mobile,
then after driving to various places at some point his
wife and children arrived and they also assaulted her,
as a result of which, she became unconscious. She
was   saved   by   the   patrolling   vehicle   of   the   Police
department, whereafter she lodged the FIR No.161 of
2020   on   01.06.2020   for   the   offences   punishable
under Sections 376, 323, 341, 354 and 379 IPC at
the Karni Vihar Police Station, Jaipur. The FIR was
only   about   that   day’s   incident,   however,   later   on,
when the appellant recovered, she narrated the whole
story in her statement under Section 164 CrPC.
6. Further,   the   case   of   the   appellant   is   that
respondent no.2 misusing his official position got a
false report registered through his wife against the
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appellant five days later on 05.06.2020, which was
registered as FIR No.0234 of 2020, Police StationJhotwara, Jaipur. It is also submitted that the said
FIR   after   investigation   has   been   found   to   be
containing completely false and incorrect facts and a
closure report has already been submitted. However,
insofar   as   the   FIR   lodged   by   the   appellant   is
concerned,   as   the   respondent   no.2   has   not   been
taken into custody, he is not co­operating with the
investigation and several articles and mobiles need to
be   recovered   from   him   for   a   fair   and   proper
investigation.  It is also necessary to have control over
the obscene videos and photographs of the appellant,
as such his judicial custody is required considering
the seriousness of the allegations. 
7. The order of anticipatory bail, which has been
passed   in   a   cursory   manner   literally   treating   the
averments contained in the petition before the High
Court to be correct needs to be set aside. It is also the
case of the appellant that respondent no.2 has further
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misused his official position in order to lodge several
false complaints not only against the appellant but
her family members also only in order to pressurize
her to withdraw the present FIR.
8. The   State­respondent   has   filed   a   detailed
counter­affidavit.  Relevant paragraph nos.5 to 10 are
relevant which read as follows:
“5.  It   is   most   respectfully   submitted   that   the
investigation   in   the   FIR   161/2020   has
unearthed   substantial   evidence   which   proves
that Accused/Respondent No. 2, who is himself
a   police   officer,   is   guilty   of   offences   under
Sections 323, 341, 354, 504, 379, 376 of IPC,
as   detailed   in   the   Factual   Report   dated
23.11.2021.
6.     Further,   on   05.06.2020,   another   FIR   No.
234/2020 was registered at the instance of one
Smt Usha Kanwar, i.e, wife of Respondents No.
2, at the Police Station Jhotwara, Jaipur West,
under   Sections   143,323,341,   384,   504,   379,
452, of the IPC. After detailed investigation, it
was found that the said FIR was registered on
the basis of false information and no offence
was made out against the Petitioner and any
members of her family. As such, Final Report
under Section 173 CrPC already been filed on
27.09.2021 before the court of learned a CJM
Class­   3   Jaipur   City,   wherein   next   date   of
hearing is fixed as 25.01.2022.
A   true   translate   copy   of   the   Factual   Report
dated 25.11.2021 detailing the findings of the
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investigation and its status is annexed herewith
and marked as Annexure­R2 (Page No. 45 to
99).
7.   In   addition   to   the   facts   stated   in   the   two
Factual Reports above, it  is  most respectfully
submitted that the Accused/Respondent No. 2
is a police officer who is well versed with the
process   of   law   and   an   insider   to   law
enforcement   machinery   in   the   State   of
Rajasthan, therefore, it is even more important
that   the   investigation   proceed   without   the
Accused/Respondent   No.   2   being   under   the
protection of the Hon’ble Court.
8.   Further,   the   fact   unearthed   in   the
investigation till now detailed in the above two
Factual   Reports   corroborate   and   prove   the
allegations made by the Petitioner. In addition,
the  FR in FIR 234/2020 details  how  a false
case   was   sought   to   be   created   against   the
Petitioner and her family.
9. It is most respectfully submitted that on the
strength of facts laid out above, the answering
Respondent   seeks   cancellation   of   the
anticipatory   bail   granted   on
Accused/Respondent No. 2. In particular, it is
imperative that all efforts be  made to find the
obscene photographs, videos, mobile phone and
clothes  bag of  the  victim in addition to  other
pieces of evidence that the Accused/Respondent
No.2 alone will have knowledge of. It may be
noted that the Accused/Respondent No. 2 has
not fully cooperated with the investigation as
noted in the Factual Report dated 23.11.2021.
10. In light of the above submissions, it is most
respectfully   prayed   before   this   Hon’ble   Court
that impugned order granting anticipatory bail
Respondent   No.   2   be   set   aside   and   the
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Respondent­State be at liberty to proceed with
the   investigation   as   it   sees   fit,   without   the
accused being under any protection from this
Hon’ble Court.”
9. In the aforesaid counter affidavit, the Additional
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Jaipur (West), Jaipur
duly authorized by the State of Rajasthan, who filed
the   affidavit,   has   stated   in   paragraph   5   that
substantial   evidence   has   been   unearthed   which
proves   that   the   respondent   no.2,   who   is   a   police
officer, is guilty of the offences, details whereof are
mentioned in the report dated 23.11.2021.
10. In   paragraph   6,   it   has   been   stated   that
respondent no.2 managed to get a false report lodged
against   the   appellant   registered   as   FIR   No.234   of
2020, which after detailed investigation was found to
be based on false information and no offence was
made   out   against   the   appellant   or   her   family
members. The final report under Section 173(2) CrPC
has already been submitted on 27.09.2021.
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11. In   paragraph   7,   it   is   stated   that   the   police
officer, who is well­versed in the process of law and a
part of the law enforcement machinery, it is all the
more important that the investigation must proceed
without   the   respondent   no.2   being   under   the
protection of this Court.
12. In   paragraph   9,   it   is   stated   that   order   for
granting anticipatory bail needs to be cancelled in
particular for the reason that efforts are still on to
recover   the   obscene   photographs,   videos,   mobilephone and the bag of clothes of the victim in addition
to other pieces of evidence from the respondent no.2,
who alone would be having knowledge of the same. It
is also specifically stated in paragraph 9 that he has
not   fully   cooperated   with   the   investigation   as   is
apparent from the factual report dated 23.11.2021.
13. On the other hand, respondent no.2 has sought
to   justify   the   order   passed   by   the   High   Court.
According   to   the   learned   counsel,   the   appellant   is
exploiting   the   respondent   no.2   and   his   family
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members, the reasons given by the High Court while
passing   the   order   of   anticipatory   bail   is   based   on
legally admissible facts and the circumstances placed
before the High Court. He also submitted that once
the High Court has exercised its discretion, this Court
may not interfere with the same.  It is also submitted
that other FIR’s registered against the appellant and
her relatives is by third persons/strangers who are
victims of extortion by the appellant and her relatives.
They have nothing to do with the respondent no.2.
14.  Law on the applicability or grant of anticipatory
bail   under   section   438   Cr.P.C.   may   be   briefly
summarised as under: ­
14.1.In Shri Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia and Others v.
State  of  Punjab1
,  a Constitution Bench of this
Court,  Chief   Justice   Y.V.   Chandrachud,
speaking for the Court dealt with in detail on the
considerations for grant of anticipatory bail. 
1 (1980) 2 SCC 565
10
14.2. In Siddharam Satlingappa Mhetre vs. State of
Maharashtra   and   Others2
;  this   Court   relying
upon the Constitution Bench judgment in  Shri
Gurbaksh  Singh  Sibbia  laid down in paragraph
112   of   the   report   the   following   factors   and
parameters to be considered while dealing with
an application for anticipatory bail:
“(i) The nature and gravity of the accusation and
the exact role of the accused must be properly
comprehended before arrest is made;
(ii) The antecedents of the applicant including
the   fact   as   to   whether   the   accused   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;
(iv) The possibility of the accused’s likelihood to
repeat similar or other offences;
(v) Where the accusations have been made only
with  the object of injuring or humiliating the
applicant by arresting him or her;
(vi)   Impact   of   grant   of   anticipatory   bail
particularly in cases of large magnitude affecting
a very large number of people;
(vii)   The   courts   must   evaluate   the   entire
available   material   against   the   accused   very
carefully.   The   court   must   also   clearly
comprehend the exact role of the accused in the
case.   The   cases   in   which   the   accused   is
implicated with the help of Sections 34 and 149
of   the   Penal   Code,   1860   the   court   should
consider   with   even   greater   care   and   caution
2 (2011) 1 SCC 694
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because over­implication in the cases is a matter
of common knowledge and concern;
(viii) While considering the prayer for grant of
anticipatory   bail,   a   balance   has   to   be   struck
between   two   factors,   namely,   no   prejudice
should   be   caused   to   the   free,   fair   and   full
investigation and there should be prevention of
harassment,   humiliation   and   unjustified
detention of the accused;
(ix)   The   court   to   consider   reasonable
apprehension of tampering of the witnesses or
apprehension of threat to the complainant;
(x)   Frivolity   in   prosecution   should   always   be
considered   and   it   is   only   the   element   of
genuineness that shall have to be considered in
the matter of grant of bail and in the event of
there being some doubt as to the genuineness of
the prosecution, in the normal course of events,
the accused is entitled to an order of bail.”
14.3.   In   yet   another   recent   Constitution   Bench
judgment in the case of  Sushila  Aggarwal  and
Others vs. State (NCT of Delhi) and Another3
,
in paragraph 85 of the report Justice Ravindra
Bhatt laid down the guiding principles in dealing
with applications under Section 438. 
Justice M.R. Shah  had authored a separate
opinion.  Justice   Arun   Misra,   Justice   Indira
Banerjee and Justice Vineet Saran agreed with
both   the   opinions.   The   concluding   guiding
3 (2020) 5 SCC 1
12
factors stated in paragraphs 92, 92.1 to 92.9 are
reproduced hereunder: 
“92. This Court, in the light of the above
discussion in the two judgments, and in
the light of the answers to the reference,
hereby clarifies that the following need to
be kept in mind by courts, dealing with
applications under Section 438 CrPC.
92.1.  Consistent   with   the   judgment
in Shri   Gurbaksh   Singh   Sibbia   and
others   v.   State   of   Punjab4
,  when   a
person   complains   of   apprehension  of
arrest   and   approaches   for   order,   the
application should be based on concrete
facts   (and   not   vague   or   general
allegations)   relatable   to   one   or   other
specific offence. The application seeking
anticipatory   bail   should   contain   bare
essential   facts   relating   to   the   offence,
and   why   the   applicant   reasonably
apprehends arrest, as well as his side of
the   story.   These   are   essential   for   the
court   which   should   consider   his
application,   to   evaluate   the   threat   or
apprehension, its gravity or seriousness
and the appropriateness of any condition
that may have to be imposed. It is not
essential that an application should be
moved only after an FIR is filed; it can be
moved earlier, so long as the facts are
clear and there is reasonable basis for
apprehending arrest.
92.2. It may be advisable for the court,
which is approached with an application
under Section   438,  depending   on   the
seriousness of the threat (of arrest) to
issue notice to the public prosecutor and
4 (1980) 2 SCC 565
13
obtain facts, even while granting limited
interim anticipatory bail.
92.3.  Nothing   in   Section   438   Cr.   PC,
compels   or   obliges   courts   to   impose
conditions   limiting   relief   in   terms   of
time, or upon filing of FIR, or recording
of   statement   of   any   witness,   by   the
police,   during   investigation   or   inquiry,
etc. While considering an application (for
grant of anticipatory bail) the court has
to consider the nature of the offence, the
role of the person, the likelihood of his
influencing the course of investigation,
or   tampering   with   evidence   (including
intimidating   witnesses),   likelihood   of
fleeing   justice   (such   as   leaving   the
country),   etc.   The   courts   would   be
justified   –   and   ought   to   impose
conditions spelt out in Section 437 (3),
Cr.P.C. [by virtue of Section 438 (2)]. The
need   to   impose   other   restrictive
conditions, would have to be judged on a
case­by­case basis, and depending upon
the materials produced by the state or
the investigating agency. Such special or
other   restrictive   conditions   may   be
imposed if the case or cases warrant, but
should   not   be   imposed   in   a   routine
manner,   in   all   cases.   Likewise,
conditions   which   limit   the   grant   of
anticipatory bail may be granted, if they
are required in the facts of any case or
cases; however, such limiting conditions
may not be invariably imposed.
92.4.  Courts   ought   to   be   generally
guided   by   considerations   such   as   the
nature and gravity of the offences, the
role attributed to the applicant, and the
facts   of   the   case,   while   considering
whether   to   grant   anticipatory   bail,   or
refuse it. Whether to grant or not is a
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matter   of   discretion;   equally   whether
and if so, what kind of special conditions
are to be imposed (or not imposed) are
dependent   on   facts   of   the   case,   and
subject to the discretion of the court.
92.5.   Anticipatory   bail   granted   can,
depending on the conduct and behaviour
of the accused, continue after filing of
the charge­sheet till end of trial.
92.6.   An   order   of   anticipatory   bail
should not be “blanket” in the sense that
it   should   not   enable   the   accused   to
commit further offences and claim relief
of   indefinite   protection   from   arrest.   It
should   be   confined   to   the   offence   or
incident,   for   which   apprehension   of
arrest is sought, in relation to a specific
incident. It cannot operate in respect of a
future incident that involves commission
of an offence.
92.7. An order of anticipatory bail does
not in any manner limit or restrict the
rights   or   duties   of   the   police   or
investigating agency, to investigate into
the   charges   against   the   person   who
seeks and is granted prearrest bail.
92.8.   The   observations   in   Sibbia
regarding “limited  custody” or “deemed
custody” to facilitate the requirements of
the   investigative   authority,   would   be
sufficient for the purpose of fulfilling the
provisions of Section 27, in the event of
recovery of an article, or discovery of a
fact, which is relatable to a statement
made   during   such   event   (i.e   deemed
custody).   In   such   event,   there   is   no
question   (or   necessity)   of   asking
the accused to separately surrender and
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seek   regular   bail.   Sibbia   (supra)   had
observed that 
“if and when the occasion arises, it
may be possible for the prosecution to
claim the benefit  of Section 27 of the
Evidence Act in regard to a discovery
of   facts   made   in   pursuance   of
information   supplied   by   a   person
released   on   bail   by   invoking   the
principle stated by this Court in State
of U.P. v Deoman Upadhyaya5
.”
92.9.   It   is   open   to   the   police   or   the
investigating agency to move the court
concerned,   which   grants   anticipatory
bail, for a direction under Section 439 (2)
to  arrest  the  accused,  in   the  event  of
violation   of   any   term,   such   as
absconding,   non  cooperating   during
investigation,   evasion,   intimidation   or
inducement to witnesses with a view to
influence outcome of the investigation or
trial, etc.”
15. Having considered the submissions, the material
on record, in particular the stand taken by the Staterespondent no.1 in their counter affidavit, and the law
on the grant or refusal of anticipatory bail, we are of
the   view   that   considering   the   seriousness   of   the
offences alleged, this was not a fit case for grant of
5 AIR 1960 SC 1125
16
anticipatory   bail,   when   according   to   the   State,
recoveries are yet to be made and the respondent no.2
has not extended full cooperation in the investigation.
16. The   Respondent   no.2   is   not   a   common   man,
being a law­abiding person. His adherence to law has
to be more stringent than expected in general by a
common man, which apparently, he failed to observe. 
17. We also feel that High Court has proceeded to
accept the case as set up by the respondent no.2 in
his petition to be true and on that basis proceeded to
grant anticipatory bail. The High Court in our opinion
committed an error.
18. Accordingly, the appeal deserves to be  allowed.
The impugned judgment and order of the High Court
dated   25.08.2021   is   set   aside   and   the   application
under Section 438 CrPC filed by the respondent no.2
is dismissed.
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19. We grant two weeks’ time to the respondent no.2
to surrender, failing which, the Investigating Agency
would   be   at   liberty   to   arrest   him   forthwith   and
proceed   with   the   investigation   in   a   fair   and
reasonable manner as per law.
20. The observations made hereinabove are only for
disposal of the appeal.  If regular bail application is
filed,   it   may   be   considered   on   its   own   merits   in
accordance with law without being influenced by any
of the observations made above.
21. The appeal stands allowed as above.
…………..........................J.
[AJAY RASTOGI]
………….........................J.
[VIKRAM NATH]
NEW DELHI
JULY 12, 2022. 
18

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