On March 8, the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed the anticipatory bail application of a 95-year-old, citing that ‘advanced age’ is not a bar for criminal activities, reported Bar and Bench.
The 95-year-old petitioner, Piara Singh, was accused of defrauding the complainant Kuldip Singh to the tune of ₹6.5 lacs along with his accomplices Manjit Singh Maruti and Sucha Singh. He along with the 2 others cheated the complainant by not fulfilling the promise of facilitating his migration to the United States. Piara Singh was charged under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating).
The matter came up for hearing before the Bench of Justice HS Madaan. The petitioner had cited his old age to claim that the accusations against him are false. However, Justice HS Madaan of the Punjab and Haryana High Court rejected his anticipatory bail as the evidence prima-facie ‘pointed to a case against him’. The Bench noted that while the elderly ought to be treated with respect, the old age of the petitioner is not a valid reason for anticipatory bail. It added that human greed did not accept bar of sex, age or race.
Custodial interrogation necessary for effective investigation, says court
The Court held that the interrogation of the 95-year-old petitioner was necessary for conducting the probe effectively. Justice HS Madaan pointed out that only through complete and effective investigation can the planning of the crime and mode of execution be unearthed.
In his order, he emphasised that custodial interrogation can bring out details of the case such as the role played by the three accused in the crime. While rejecting his bail application, the Court concluded that pre-arrest bail is meant to save innocent people from harassment and not to shield culprits from custodial interrogation and arrest.
95-year-old petitioner has ‘criminal bent’ of mind: Court rejects anticipatory bail
The Court further noted that Piara Singh had issued two cheques of ₹2 lacs each (total of ₹4 lacs) to Kuldip Singh and thus “corroborated the allegations levelled by the complainant in the FIR.” It added, “If the accused had not received any money from the complainant, then where was the occasion to issue such cheques by him to the complainant.” Justice HS Madaan said, “Those cheques when presented to the banker of the petitioner/accused, had been dishonoured.”
The Court also noted that the 95-year-old petitioner was involved in another case, where he was charged under IPC Sections Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 365 (kidnapping). In its order, Justice HS Madaan emphasised, “That goes to show that he has got criminal bent of mind and his credentials are not that clear, which he is projecting as a saintly figure of old age.”