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Avoid custodial interrogation if accused cooperates: Delhi HC

New Delhi: When an accused is cooperating with an investigation and is not likely to abscond, custodial interrogation should be avoided as great amount of humiliation and disgrace is attached with arrest, the Delhi High Court has said.

Justice Amit Mahajan observed that the purpose of custodial interrogation is to aid the investigation and is not punitive, and that bail proceedings should not be utilized as a means for recovery in monetary disputes which falls within the realm of civil proceedings.

The court’s observations came while granting anticipatory bail to certain individuals in an FIR being probed by the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police for offences of criminal breach of trust and cheating under the Indian Penal Code.

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“It is not in doubt that order for grant of pre-arrest bail cannot be passed routinely to allow the accused to use the same as a shield. At the same time, it cannot be denied that a great amount of humiliation and disgrace is attached to the arrest,” the court said in a recent order.

“In cases where the accused has joined the investigation, cooperating with the Investigating Agency and is not likely to abscond, the custodial interrogation should be avoided. The purpose of custodial interrogation is to aid the investigation and is not punitive,” the court stated.

Granting relief to the accused persons in the present case, the court noted that proceedings to enforcement of the settlement between the accused and the complainant were already pending and appropriate orders would be passed in those proceedings.

It further stated that a charge sheet had also been filed by the police without feeling the necessity to arrest the accused persons and their custodial interrogation was admittedly not required at this stage.

“It is trite law that bail proceedings should not be utilised as means for recovery in monetary disputes, since recovery of money essentially falls within the realm of civil proceedings,” the court said.

“The complainants are at liberty to initiate appropriate proceedings for recovery of their money or for compliance of the settlement arrived at between the complainants and the applicants,” the court added.

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