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Compensation provided after meaningless crime can’t be determined at the stage of grant of bail: SC

We may hasten to add that we are not saying that no monetary condition can be imposed for grant of bail. We say so as there are cases of offences against property or otherwise but that cannot be a compensation to be deposited and disbursed as if that grant has to take place as a condition of the person being enlarged on bail (Para.17).


DHARMESH AND DHARMENDRA AND DHAMO JAGDISHBHAI AND JAGABHAI BHAGUBHAI RATADIA & ANR V. THE STATE OF GUJARAT

Criminal appeal no.432 of 2021.

Decided on July 07, 2021.


The Two-Judge bench comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Hemant Gupta decided the present case. The Supreme Court allowed the appeal, removing the condition for bail imposed by the impugned decision of the High Court, while imposing a different condition for bail.


On 10.11.2019, the appellants in this case were involved in a free fight, where two people succumbed to their injuries. A F.I.R was registered with Amreli Police on 11.11.2019 and the appellants, who were the accused, were arrested under section 302, 307, 324, 323, 506(2), 504, 143, 144, 147, 148, 149, 120B and 34 of the IPC as well as Section 135(ii) of the Gujarat Police Act. They applied for bail and it was granted to them with the condition that they have to pay two lakh rupees each as compensation to the victims. Aggrieved by this condition, the present appeal is before the Supreme Court.


The learned counsel representing the appellant argued that this bail condition was imposed by the High Court based on the "amended provisions" which relate to victim compensation without referring to any specific provision. Counsel stated that such compensation can only be awarded after the conclusion of a trial under subsection (3) of section 357 of the CrPC, although this is a matter of discretion. Without a full-fledged trial, there cannot be a sentence, and, consequently, no such compensation can be provided.


Moreover, Counsel cited section 235(2) of the CrPC, which means that the judge must hear the accused before granting compensation, which is in keeping with the scheme of the Act stating that the sentence must be granted before compensation is awarded. Further, they referred to section 372 of CrPC, stating that compensation implies a conclusion on the imposition of a sentence or fine. It would be impossible to appeal the condition for award of damages as a bail condition.


The Court stated that, “In the aforesaid context, learned counsel for the appellants contended that the specific allegations against the two appellants as Accused Nos. 12 & 13 is that they had beaten the complainant and the witnesses and not any of the deceased. It was a case of free fight between two groups where each alleges the other to be the aggressor. Not only that, the other accused Nos.3, 9, 10 & 6 had been granted bail without imposing the aforesaid condition. In case of these accused, specific roles related to (a) blows being given with wooden sticks and iron pipes with a shout to kill, (b) blow with the stick to the complainant and witnesses and (c) the allegation of forwarding a Whatsapp recording to create animosity between the two groups. Apart from these four accused, it was urged that out of total 13 arrayed accused, 11 had been released on bail by the High Court and/or Sessions Court. The High Court had imposed stringent conditions including an embargo from entering the geographical limits of Amreli and regularly marking presence before the police station amongst other conditions. Learned counsel for the appellants claims parity with those orders and submits that the appellants may be imposed with the same conditions even though their role was much less than the other accused persons.” (Para 20)


The Court further stated that, “In view of the aforesaid, we consider it appropriate to impose the same terms and conditions for grant of bail upon the appellants and set aside condition (f) of the bail requiring the appellants to deposit Rs.2.00 lakh each towards compensation to the victims before the trial court and the consequential orders for disbursement. This condition is instead to be substituted with the condition that the appellants will not enter the geographical limits of Amreli for a period of six (6) months except for marking presence before the concerned police station and to attend the court proceedings. ” (Para 22)



Utkarsh Kumar Jayaswal

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