Absconding accused cannot get anticipatory bail: SC

In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court today said an absconding accused, who has also been declared a proclaimed offender, cannot be accorded the benefit of anticipatory bail.

"Normally, when the accused is absconding and declared a proclaimed offender, there is no question of granting anticipatory bail," said a bench of justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi.

"We reiterate that when a person against whom a warrant has been issued and is absconding or concealing himself in order to avoid execution of the warrant and declared a proclaimed offender in terms of Section 82 of the Criminal Procedure Code, is not entitled to the relief of anticipatory bail," the bench added.

The bench made the observation in its verdict dismissing the bail plea of a Delhi-based diamond merchant, Lavesh who is absconding since he was made a co-accused in the suicide case of his brother's pregnant wife.

Vibha, who was married to Lavesh's younger brother on January 19, 2010, had committed suicide within two years after tying the nuptial knot.

On the basis of a complaint lodged by the victim's mother that her daughter was being harassed by her in-laws, who were demanding Rs five lakh more as dowry, an FIR was lodged against the victim's husband and her in-laws including Lavesh.

While, the husband and mother-in-law of the victim were arrested, Lavesh absconded and was later declared proclaimed offender in the case.

As his successive anticipatory bail pleas were dismissed by the sessions court and the Delhi High Court, Lavesh had moved the apex court for anticipatory bail.

Justice Sathasivam, writing the judgement for the bench, concurred with the findings of the high court and asked the accused to surrender before the magisterial court saying "unless free hand is given to the investigating agency ...the truth will not surface."

"We also clarify that after surrender, the appellant is free to move bail application before the court concerned which may be disposed of in accordance with law," the court said.

Perusing the FIR, it said the parents and a neighbour of the victim had "specifically" said that the accused had subjected her to cruelty by demanding "sizable amount in order to settle the payment of Rs 5 lakhs of an allotted DDA flat."

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