The Supreme Court has ruled that the rationale and intention behind section 489-F of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) was not recovery of an alleged amount, saying the sectionâ€™s objective was to determine the offence.
Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi issued the ruling while granting bail to the accused involved in the offence under section 489-F.
A three-judge bench of the apex court led by Justice Maqbool Baqar heard the bail matter.
The court observes that prima facie Section 489-F of PPC is not a provision that is intended by the legislature to be used for the recovery of an alleged amount. Rather, it is only to determine the guilt of a criminal act and award of a sentence, fine or both as provided under the said section.
â€œOn the other hand, for recovery of any amount, civil proceedings provide remedies, inter alia, under Order XXXVII of CPC,â€ says the three-page judgement.
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The court stated that at this stage, only a tentative assessment of the matter was required and it cannot presume dishonesty on the part of the petitioner as any such determination would prejudice his right to a fair trial guaranteed by the Constitution.
Liberty of a person is a precious right that cannot be taken away without exceptional foundations, it added. â€œThe law is very liberal, especially when it is salutary principle of law that the offences which do not fall within the prohibitory clause, the grant of bail is a rule while its refusal is mere an exception,â€ observes the court order.
The accused had issued a cheque amounting to Rs.1,00,000,00 to the complainant in order to settle some business-related transactions. However, the cheque was dishonoured when presented to the bank.
The order said that it is an admitted position that the petitioner is behind the bars for the last six and half months whereas the maximum punishment provided under the statute for the offence under Section 489-F PPC is three years and the offence does not fall within the prohibitory clause of section 497 Cr.P.C.
“It is settled law that grant of bail in the offences not falling within the prohibitory clause is a rule and refusal is an exception.â€
The court referred to its 2017 judgment wherein it was held that â€œonce this Court has held in categorical terms that grant of bail in offences not falling within the prohibitory limb of section 497, Cr.P.C. shall be a rule and refusal shall be an exception then the Courts of the country should follow this principle in its letter and spirit because principles of law enunciated by this court are constitutionally binding on all courts throughout the country including the Special Tribunals and Special Courtsâ€.
The order said that the case of the petitioner squarely falls within the ambit of section 497(2) Cr.P.C. entitling for further inquiry into his guilt.
The court also converted this petition into appeal, allow it and set aside order dated October 25, 2021.
The petitioner is admitted to bail subject to his furnishing bail bonds in the sum of Rs.10,00,000 with one surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the learned trial court, the order added.