Orissa HC Clarifies Accused on Interim Bail is deemed as ‘Constructive Custody

Orissa high court Law Insider

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Published on: December 20, 2023 at 16:50 IST

The Orissa High Court clarified that an accused person granted interim bail is considered to be in ‘constructive custody’ of the court. Consequently, there is no requirement for the accused to surrender again before the court to obtain regular bail.

Justice V. Narasingh, presiding over a Single Bench, made this observation while granting bail to two individuals accused of misappropriating government funds, causing wrongful loss to the government exchequer.

The Court emphasized that even though the term ‘custody’ is not defined in the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.), an accused released on interim bail is deemed to be in the constructive custody of the court.

The case involved two petitioners seeking anticipatory bail initially, which was granted under certain conditions. Subsequently, after the charge sheet was submitted, they were summoned and remanded to police custody by the trial court. Challenging this order, the accused sought protection from the High Court and were granted interim bail.

The key question addressed by the High Court was whether the accused needed to surrender before the trial court to avail regular bail.

The Court referred to the Supreme Court’s decision in Sundeep Kumar Bafna v. State of Maharashtra & Anr., which extensively discussed the term ‘custody.’

Additionally, the judgment in Niranjan Singh v. Prabhakar Rajaram Kharote was cited, emphasizing that an accused can be considered in judicial custody when surrendering before the court and submitting to its directions.

Based on these precedents, the High Court concluded that due to interim bail, the accused were deemed to be in ‘constructive custody’ of the court.

Therefore, there was no necessity for them to surrender again to secure regular bail. The interim bail granted to the accused individuals was made absolute until the conclusion of the trial.

Case Title: Susanta Kumar Samantaray and another v. State of Odisha (Vigilance)

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