Non-Cooperation Of Fact /Prosecution Witnesses Ground For Bail.

Allahabad High Court, Lucknow Bench

Vaibhav Srivastava

1 month ago|3 min read

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The Allahabad High Court, Lucknow Bench recently held that the non-cooperation of the fact witnesses/prosecution witnesses is a ground to grant bail.

The facts of the case were that this is the applicant’s third bail application. The first and second bail applications have been rejected by Justice Prashant Kumar on 22.2.2017 and 17.5.2018 vide Criminal Misc. Bail Applications No.7312 of 2015 and 7137 of 2017 respectively. The District Judge, Bahraich has provided a detailed and exhaustive status report dated 28.3.2022 relating to the trial proceedings. Perusing the record, the Court noted that the examination of some more prosecution witnesses in the case is yet to take place, and thereafter, the formal witnesses e.g. Doctor who had done a postmortem examination, the chick writer of the F.I.R. and investigating officer will be examined. 

The applicant argued that the fact witnesses remained absent till 28.10.2021 and the bailable and non-bailable warrants were issued against them. He has also submitted that there is no possibility that the trial would be concluded in near future. Further, in support of his aforesaid submission, the reliance has been placed on the dictum of Hon'ble Apex Court in re: Gokarakonda Naga Saibaba v. State of Maharashtra, (2018) 12 SCC 505, Anokhi Lal vs. State of U.P. passed in Criminal Misc. Bail Application No. 6869 of 2019, Union of India vs. K.A. Najeeb reported in AIR 2021 Supreme Court 712 and Paras Ram Vishnoi vs. The Director, Central Bureau of Investigation passed in Criminal Appeal No. 693 of 2021 (Arising out of SLP (Crl) 3610 of 2020).

Per contra, the Respondent opposed the prayer for bail by submitting that since two bail applications of the present applicant have been rejected by this Court, therefore, present third bail application may not be allowed as no new ground has been shown to this Hon'ble Court to consider his bail.

Court's Observations:

Examining the submissions of the parties, the court noted that the present applicant is in jail for almost seven years and the fact witnesses and other prosecution witnesses were not cooperating with the trial proceedings, resultant thereof the trial could not be concluded despite being committed on 7.8.2018 and the status report was provided by the District Judge does not indicate any fault on the part of the applicant.

The Single Bench of Justice Rajesh Singh Chauhan observed that the present applicant is in jail since 27.5.2015, almost seven years till now in Case Crime No. 840 of 2015 u/s 302, 504, 506 IPC, P.S. Ikauna, District Shrawasti. Further, there is a total of 15 prosecution witnesses out of them all fact witnesses have been examined and the examination of other witnesses is almost complete except for the examination of formal witnesses. The court found that there is no likelihood of conclusion of the trial in near future. 

Relying on the decision of the Apex Court in Gokarakonda Naga Saibaba v. State of Maharashtra, (supra), Union of India vs. K.A. Najeeb (supra) and Paras Ram Vishnoi vs. The Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (supra), Justice Rajesh Singh Chauhan observed that the aforesaid grounds may be considered as a fresh ground to grant bail to the present applicant while deciding his third bail application.-

“Para 15. ....the period of incarceration of the present applicant w.e.f. 27.5.2015, almost seven years and there are a total of 15 prosecution witnesses out of them all fact witnesses have been examined and the examination of other witnesses is almost complete except for the examination of formal witnesses and there is no likelihood of conclusion of the trial in near future and the non-cooperation of the fact witnesses/prosecution witnesses is apparent on the status report of the trial dated 28.3.2022, therefore, the aforesaid grounds may be considered as a fresh ground to grant bail to the present applicant while deciding his third bail application. Besides, the dictums of Apex Court in re: Gokarakonda Naga Saibaba v. State of Maharashtra, (supra), Union of India vs. K.A. Najeeb (supra) and Paras Ram Vishnoi vs. The Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (supra) are being considered as those judgments, to me, are supporting the submission of learned counsel for the applicant.

Para 16. Accordingly, the third bail application of the applicant is allowed. ” 

Case:- CRIMINAL MISC. BAIL APPLICATION No. - 11785 of 2019

Applicant:- Rameshwar Pandey Third Bail

Opposite Party:- State of U.P.

Counsel for Applicant:- Anil Kumar Tripathi

Counsel for Opposite Party:- G.A.

Click here to read/download the order

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Vaibhav Srivastava

I am Vaibhav Srivastava, law and policy researcher, and a senior-year student of the integrated Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws (BA. LL.B.) program. I have a deep vested interest in expressing my opinion on legal standpoints and love to pitch forth my analysis on public fora.

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