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Gravity of the offence, object of the Special Act and the period of sentence relevant when granting bail in GST related offences


Last updated: 22 February 2024

Court :
Punjab and Haryana High Court

Brief :
The Hon'ble Punjab and Haryana High Court in the case of Pankaj Kumar v. State of Punjab [CRM-M-43188-2023dated January 16, 2024] granted bail to the Accused, thereby holding that, gravity of the offence, object of the Special Act and the period of sentence among other factors have to be taken into consideration while granting bail to the Accused in offences related to GST.

Citation :
CRM-M-43188-2023dated January 16, 2024

The Hon'ble Punjab and Haryana High Court in the case of Pankaj Kumar v. State of Punjab [CRM-M-43188-2023dated January 16, 2024] granted bail to the Accused, thereby holding that, gravity of the offence, object of the Special Act and the period of sentence among other factors have to be taken into consideration while granting bail to the Accused in offences related to GST.

Facts

Pankaj Kumar ("the Petitioner") has filed a petition under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure ("Cr.P.C.")  for grant of regular bail to the Petitioner pertaining to complaint case filed under offence punishable under Section 132(1)(a), 132(1)(b), 132(1)(c) and (i) of the Central Goods and Services Act, 2017 ("the CGST Act") wherein it has been alleged that, the Petitioner has issued fake bills by creating paper firms and thereby causing loss to the government exchequer. 

Issue

Whether the gravity of the offence, object of the Special Act and the period of sentence have to be taken into consideration while granting bail to the Accused in offences related to GST? 

Held

The Hon'ble Punjab and Haryana High Court in the case of CRM-M-43188-2023 held as under:

  • Relying upon the judgement of Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Satender Kumar Antil v. Central Bureau of Investigation and Another [Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No. 5191 of 2021 dated July 11, 2022], pertaining to economic offences, the gravity of the offence, object of the Special Act, and the period of sentence among other factors have to be taken into consideration while granting bail to the Accused. 
  • Noted that, though the economic offenses constitute a separate class of their own. However, the presumption of innocence is a crucial part of the criminal jurisprudence. Also, the Hon'ble Supreme Court has enumerated upon the need to integrate right of investigating agencies to have effective interrogation of the accused with right of liberty of the accused. 
  • Opined that, relying upon the aforesaid case-law and taking into consideration the incarceration suffered by the Petitioner, the maximum punishment prescribed, and the fact that the investigation has already stands concluded, the present petition is allowed. 
  • Held that, the Petitioner be ordered to be released on furnishing bail bonds and surety bonds to the satisfaction of the Trial Court/Duty Magistrate.    
 

Bimal Jain
Published in GST
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