No Blanket Bar To Grant Anticipatory Bail In Cases Of Illegal Quarrying/Mining, Smuggling of Sand, Minerals: Supreme Court

first_imgTop StoriesNo Blanket Bar To Grant Anticipatory Bail In Cases Of Illegal Quarrying/Mining, Smuggling of Sand, Minerals: Supreme Court Mehal Jain24 Dec 2020 2:29 AMShare This – xThe Supreme Court recently clarified that a blanket restriction cannot be placed on anticipatory bail in cases of illegal quarrying/mining, theft and smuggling of sand and minerals, and that each case has to be considered on merits.The bench headed by Justice S. K. Kaul, in the course of hearing a SLP arising out of an October 16 decision of the Madras High Court denying anticipatory bail to…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Supreme Court recently clarified that a blanket restriction cannot be placed on anticipatory bail in cases of illegal quarrying/mining, theft and smuggling of sand and minerals, and that each case has to be considered on merits.The bench headed by Justice S. K. Kaul, in the course of hearing a SLP arising out of an October 16 decision of the Madras High Court denying anticipatory bail to the petitioner, noted that the High Court had, on September 3, held that no anticipatory bail shall be granted to the offences involving illegal quarrying/transportation of mines and minerals.”This court finds that the discretionary power has been consciously and continuously misuse by the offenders and the enforcers as well in an organised manner and this court is of the firm opinion that the discretionary powers cannot be extended to persons indulging in illegal sand mining, smuggling and theft of sand and minerals”, the High Court had ruled.On December 11, the bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy, held, “We may not agree with the broad sweep of the observations in para 27 of the relied upon judgment in the impugned order, i.e, Bala @ Balasubramani vs. State in Crl.OP No. 13334 of 2020 and connected matters, decided on 03.09.2020″The bench clarified that “in consideration of anticipatory bail the role assigned to a person would have to be considered”Proceedings before the High Court”This court can see that due to the amount of money involved, the business of illegal quarrying/mining ,theft and sand smuggling activities is increasing day by day and offenders are bold enough to involve in the offences with a fond belief that they will be able to get advance bail by accepting and undertaking to comply with any stringent conditions imposed by the courts”, said Justice A. D. Jagadish Chandira in the September 3 judgment, adding that orders of the courts are routinely taken more lightly and the industry is thriving by engaging men and materials on a large scale.The Single Judge noted that heavy and high- cost equipments and vehicles like excavators, earthmovers, JCB, Poclain, Hitachi are used to excavate and heavy lorries viz., Taurus and Tata Benz are being used in the illegal mining business flouting all rules which remain in paper only. “Nowadays bullock carts are fabricated like that of tractor trailers to transport a huge quantity of sand to avoid seizure of high priced vehicles. This court is also able to see cases where more and more people are getting involved and sand is smuggled in pleasure cars and two wheelers which shows the economy and the profits involved in sand smuggling”, reflected the bench, expressing that the offenders with scant regard to the law enforcers and orders of the court continue with the illegality at the cost of heavily degrading the ecology and environment since it is well settled in their minds that they will be able to get anticipatory/advance bail by complying with any stringent condition with ease and get out”.”It is common knowledge what is the amount paid as Royalty to the Government and what is the amount paid by end user of sand and minerals. It is an open secret that various mafias are controlling the illegal business at various locations. By this cartelisation, not only the State’s exchequer, the entire society is affected. In a way the illegal business is nothing but an organised crime against the society and each individual offender plays an active role in the organised crime”, remarked the bench.Stating that it is not that the individual offender is not aware about the rippling effect the illegal act causes to the environment and ecology, the bench said that the greed and selfish attitude of the offenders are increasing day by day and that the Courts cannot keep the eyes and ears closed.Noting that though anticipatory bails are granted imposing heavy monetary cost and serious conditions, the bench said the offenders are not bothered about paying since the amount of money spun in the illegal business takes care of them- “May be the amounts ordered to be paid are treated as business expenditure in a thriving industry”. The bench found that the sand and mineral offenders are unmindful of the fact that they are killing their mother nature and are continuing to indulge in illegal activities since there is hope for them, that they can get away by complying with the stringent conditions imposed by the courts while granting anticipatory bail/advance bail. “It is also surprising and astonishing to note that despite seizure of vehicles and coming to know the names of owners and persons involved in the illegal activities they are allowed to roam scott free and given sufficient time to approach this court to obtain orders of advance bail. There seems to be no will for the enforcement agencies to give effect to the various orders passed by this court in letter and spirit. In most of the cases there is no progress after an accused obtains bail and when compared to the cases registered the confiscation and conviction rate till date remains very poor”, the bench lamented, adding that it also has a reasonable suspicion that the cases which are registered are too for the purpose of statistics and are only a tip of the iceberg and much more are rolled under the carpet by the law enforcers for reasons best known to them.Saddened that the routine exercise of discretionary power has allowed the miscreants to indulge in illegal activities fully understanding the consequences and implications, the court was of the opinion that the offenders despite several orders passed by various benches of this court regarding illegal sand mining and knowing fully well about the evil consequences affecting the environment and society at large and the implications thereon are indulging in the offences of illegal quarrying/mining, theft and smuggling of sand and minerals. Voicing the fear that this order discouraging anticipatory bails could bring in a counter effect of non registration of cases regarding illegal quarrying/mining, theft and smuggling of sand and minerals, the Court, however, reflected that it is aware that it would not be difficult for the Director General of Police, Tamil Nadu to get statistics in which Districts and which Stations more cases were registered and it would not be difficult for him to do proper monitoring and take appropriate action to stop the illegality. Remarking that “Where there is a will there is a way”, the bench directed the state DGP to periodically review the progress of cases registered for offences regarding illegal quarrying/mining, theft and smuggling of sand and minerals in a time bound manner and see to that the final reports are filed within the prescribed time and accused are taken to trial.The bench, in denying anticipatory bail on the string of petitions before it, observed that the order contemplated under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is to be granted or refused by the High Court or Court of Sessions after exercising its judicial discretion wisely. “A wise exercise of judicial power inevitably takes care of the evil consequences which are likely to flow out of its intemperate use. Every kind of judicial discretion, whatever may be the nature of the matter regarding which it is required to be exercised, has to be used with due care and caution. Further anticipatory bails cannot be granted in cases of large magnitude affecting and impacting very large number of people”, reiterated the bench.Click Here To Download Order[Read Order]Next Storylast_img

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