‘Lies are very sweet, while truth is bitter’: SC for streamlining bail proceedings

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By ETV Bharat English Desk

Published : Jan 20, 2024, 5:28 PM IST

The Supreme Court has said truth constituted an integral part of the justice delivery system in the pre-Independence era, however, materialism has overshadowed the old ethos while making suggestions to streamline the proceedings and avoid anomalies concerning the bail applications being filed in the cases pending trial.

The Supreme Court has observed that litigants can go to "any extent to mislead the court" and have "no respect for the truth". The apex court made these observations in a judgment on a bail plea filed by one Kusha Duruka facing trial in a Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act case. Reports ETV Bharat's Sumit Saxena.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has said truth constituted an integral part of the justice delivery system in the pre-Independence era, however, materialism has overshadowed the old ethos while making suggestions to streamline the proceedings and avoid anomalies concerning the bail applications being filed in the cases pending trial.

A bench comprising justices Vikram Nath and Rajesh Bindal said: “In the last 40 years, the values have gone down and now litigants can go to any extent to mislead the court. They have no respect for the truth. The principle has been evolved to meet the challenges posed by this new breed of litigants”.

Justice Bindal, who authored the judgment on behalf of the bench, said truth constituted an integral part of the justice-delivery system in the pre-Independence era, however, the post-Independence period has seen drastic changes in our value system. “The materialism has overshadowed the old ethos and the quest for personal gain has become so intense that those involved in litigation do not hesitate to take shelter of falsehood, misrepresentation and suppression of facts in the court proceedings”, he said.

The bench said that it is well settled that a litigant, who attempts to pollute the stream of justice or who touches the pure fountain of justice with tainted hands, is not entitled to any relief, interim or final. “Suppression of material facts from the court of law is actually playing fraud with the court. The maxim supressio veri, expression faisi, i.e. suppression of the truth is equivalent to the expression of falsehood, gets attracted. It’s nothing but the degradation of moral values in the society, maybe because of our education system”, said Justice Bindal.

The apex court made these observations in a judgment on a bail plea filed by one Kusha Duruka facing trial in a Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act case. “This is another case in which an effort has been made to pollute the stream of administration of justice”, said the bench.

Justice Bindal said one of the two cherished basic values by Indian society for centuries is "satya" (truth) and the same has been put under the carpet by the petitioner. “Now we are happier to hear anything except truth; read anything except truth; speak anything except truth and believe anything except the truth. Someone rightly said that `Lies are very sweet, while truth is bitter, that's why most people prefer telling lies”, said Justice Bindal, in a judgment delivered on January 19.

In March 2023, the Odisha High Court rejected the appellant’s bail plea and noted that a co-accused in the case had been released in January 2023. In July 2023, the appellant moved the apex court challenging the high court order. In September 2023, the apex court issued notice on the appellant’s plea. While the matter was pending before the apex court, the appellant filed a second bail application before the high court and the same was not disclosed before the apex court. In October 2023, the high court granted bail to the appellant. On December 6, 2023, state government counsel informed the apex court that the appellant had already been released by the high court. The apex court called for an explanation and the record of the case from the high court.

“Though considering the conduct of the petitioner, one of the options available was to cancel his bail, however, we do not propose to take such an extreme step in the case in hand. However, this can be the option exercised by the Court if the facts of the case so demand seeing the conduct of the parties”, said the apex court.

The bench said to avoid any confusion in future it would be appropriate to mandatorily mention in the application(s) filed for grant of bail: details and copies of order(s) passed in the earlier bail application(s) filed by the petitioner which have been already decided. “Details of any bail application(s) filed by the petitioner, which is pending either in any court, below the court in question or the higher court, and if none is pending, a clear statement to that effect has to be made”, said the apex court.

The bench said in case it is mentioned on the top of the bail application or any other place which is clearly visible, that the bail application is either first, second or third and so on so that it is convenient for the court to appreciate the arguments in that light. “The registry of the court should also annex a report generated from the system about decided or pending bail application(s) in the crime case in question”, it said.

The bench said it should be the duty of the investigating officer/any officer assisting the state counsel in court to apprise him of the order(s), if any, passed by the court with reference to different bail applications or other proceedings in the same crime case.

“Our suggestions are with a view to streamline the proceedings and avoid anomalies with reference to the bail applications being filed in the cases pending trial and even for suspension of sentence”, said the bench, adding that a copy of the order be sent to the registrars general of all the high courts to be placed before the chief justices for correction of the system, wherever required.

The apex court dismissed the appeal as infructuous and said, “We deem it appropriate to burden the appellant with a token cost of ₹10,000/-, which shall be deposited by 26 him with Mediation and Conciliation Centre, attached to Orissa High Court, within a period of eight weeks from today”.

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