–Report by Himanshu Sahu
A complaint was made on 03.09.2020 by the mother of a 24-year-old woman who went to HDFC Bank in Noida but did not return home. She suspected her daughter had been kidnapped. The father later reported that the kidnapper demanded a ransom of Rs. 40 lacs and threatened to kill the daughter.
The victim was found on 04.09.2020, and two individuals, Simpal Srivastav and her boyfriend Shah Alam, were arrested. The petitioner, Simpal Srivastav, has applied for regular bail after being in custody for three years.
The petitioner\’s counsel argues that the petitioner, a young woman of around 23 years with a clean record, has been in custody for three years and should be granted bail. They reference the proviso to Section 437(1)(i) of the CrPC, stating that the provision barring bail for offenses punishable with death or life imprisonment is exempted for women undertrials. Additionally, they point out that the FIR was registered several hours after the alleged ransom messages and calls were received, raising doubts about the prosecution\’s version of events.
Per contra, the learned APP submits that the petitioner has committed a serious offence by kidnapping the victim for ransom, which is punishable with life imprisonment. He, therefore, urges that the petitioner is not entitled to grant of bail and the application ought to be dismissed. The court acknowledges that the seriousness of an offense alone is not sufficient grounds for denying bail to an undertrial. Bail can only be denied if there is a possibility of the accused absconding, tampering with evidence, or threatening witnesses. The jurisdiction of the Magistrate in granting bail is regulated by the punishment prescribed for the offenCS, while the High Court and Court of Session have broader powers. In this case, the petitioner, a young woman, has been in custody for almost three years, and there is no need for further recovery or prolonged imprisonment. The trial is expected to be lengthy, but the purpose of imprisonment should not be to merely teach the accused a lesson. The petitioner is not a habitual offender and is entitled to the benefit of the first proviso to Section 437(1) of the CrPC.
The court, without delving into the merits of the case, concludes that the petitioner has presented sufficient grounds for granting bail. Therefore, the petition is allowed, and the petitioner is granted bail upon furnishing a personal bond of Rs. 20,000/- and one surety bond of the same amount, subject to the satisfaction of the Trial Court or the concerned Magistrate.
CASE NAME: SIMPAL SRIVASTAV Vs. STATE