Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) defines and prescribes punishment for ‘Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property’. The necessary elements of this provision are:
- Cheating and dishonest inducing;
- Delivery of any property to any person or, altering, making or converting valuable security; or
- To deliver anything sealed or signed which can convert into a valuable security
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If these essentials are fulfilled, the person is liable under Section 420 of IPC. The punishment that the court can award for this offense is imprisonment for 7 years or fine or both. But, the court can award punishment only after conducting a fair trial. During the trial, the accused is under police or judicial custody, which can be equivalent to imprisonment. To avoid such harassment, the accused can apply for bail.
The best option is to obtain an anticipatory bail under Section 438 of Criminal Procedural Code, 1973. Regular bail can also be preferred in case the Anticipatory bail is not applied. But, the regular bail is at the discretion of the court in case of a non-bailable offense.
Anticipatory bail under Section 438 CrPC is bail before the arrest. Through anticipation of arrest, a person can apply for bail before the competent court. In the case offense is under Section 420 IPC, the person should approach the Court of Sessions. The Court may grant anticipatory bail on its discretion and can impose conditions, depending on the facts of the case:
- Accused should be available whenever required by the police for interrogation purposes;
- Leave of court is necessary if a person wants to leave the country;
- There shall be no threat or inducement from the accused person’s side to any other person related to the case or acquainted with the facts of the case;
- Bail bond to be deposited
The court in its discretion may grant regular bail under section 439 CrPC for non-bailable offense, i.e., section 420 IPC. However, the court may impose the same conditions as are applicable in the case of Anticipatory Bail. However, the court has to be satisfied on the following grounds to grant bail to the accused:
- Evidence for the offense, nature of accusation and the punishment if the conviction occurs.
- There is no threat to complainant, evidence or witness if the court grants bail.
- The evidence shall not raise doubts regarding the charge against or guilt of the offender.
- There shall be doubts with regard to the genuineness of the prosecution's case.
Subsequent Bail Application
If the Court of Sessions does not grant bail, then a subsequent application can be preferred in the same court. There is no bar in preferring a bail application again in the same court. However, the application will lie before the same judge who rejects it. If the ground for rejection is not satisfactory, an appeal can be preferred against such ground in the High Court. At the same time, a subsequent application can also be preferred in the Court of Sessions.
The Subsequent bail application can only be entertained by the court if there is any discovery of new events or circumstances. The mere passing of time cannot be taken into consideration for granting bail. Also, the challenge to the High Court can only be on the reasoning of the court.
In case the High Court relies on the grounds for rejection, then, under Article 136 of the Constitution of India, the last resort is Apex Court. In other words, Special Leave Petition under Article 136 of the Constitution of India is the last option for bail if, High Court rejects the appeal against the wrong reasoning of the lower court while rejecting the bail application.
Conditions for Bail
There are several other conditions on which the bail can be granted. The following are the conditions on which the bail can be granted:
No Prima Facie case against the Accused
One of the various conditions for granting bail includes that there is no prima facie case against the offender. Other than the prima facie case, the nature and gravity of the offense committed. The Court will not enter in the merits of the case while deciding a bail application. When the court is satisfied with this condition, then, the court may grant bail in Section 420 IPC as well. The Court can levy certain conditions while granting the bail, which can be similar to Anticipatory or regular bail.
The bail is a right of the accused person, and the right or discretion of court depends on the offense whether bailable or non-bailable. Generally, the bailable offenses give a right to accused of applying for bail, but, the non-bailable offenses gives a court the discretion to grant bail. The accused can avail discretion of the court only in certain circumstances. Yet, there are certain ways to obtain bail by a satisfying court. The ways are:
- To apply for anticipatory bail before arrest.
- To apply for regular bail after arrest and satisfy the court that :
- there is no sufficient evidence in the case;
- the case of prosecution has no merit;
- there is no prima facie case against the accused person; or,
- prolonged delay in disposing of the case.
In the event, the application for Regular bail is rejected or dismissed, then the accused can prefer subsequent application. But, the subsequent application can also be preferred if there is a discovery of a new event, evidence or circumstances. Also, if the grounds for rejection of bail are not satisfactory, then, one can prefer an appeal to the High Court or a superior court.
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