M.V. Ramana Rao v. State of A.P.
(2012) 5 ALT 407
In the High Court of Andhra Pradesh
Cri. P. 6366, 6377, 6396/2012
Before Justice Samudrala Govindarajulu
Decided on August 13, 2012
Relevancy of the case: Bail application in a case involving the publication of call data records of Joint Director, CBI
Statutes & Provisions Involved
- The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 66, 43(g), 72, 84B and 84C)
- The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Section 120B, 420, 166, 509, 499, 500)
- The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 (Section 24, 25, 29)
- The Official Secrets Act, 1923 (Section 6)
Relevant Facts of the Case
- This case is based on three petitions. The petitioners who filed the criminal petition 6366 and 6396 are A2 and A3 which was in relation to the crime number 128 of 2012 charged by the police on behalf of the complainant V.V. Lakshminarayana, Joint Director, CBI, Hyderabad. The third criminal petition 6377/2012 was filed by A2 in relation to crime number 23/2012, a case that was reported by the police on behalf of the complainant Chandrabala who is a businessman. These petitions were filed to request a grant of anticipatory bail. Crime number 128 is related to punishable offences under Sections 120B, 420, 166, 509, 499, 500 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Sections 24, 25 and 29 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, and Sections 66/43(g), 72, 84(B), and 84(C) of Information Technology Act, 2000. Crime number 23 is related to punishable offences under Sections 120B, 420, 505(2), 509 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Sections 66, 72, 84(B) and 84(C) of Information Technology Act, 2000, Section 24 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, and Section 5 of Official Secrets Act, 1923.
- It was alleged that the petitioners, i.e., A2 and A3 in crime number 128 of 2012 collaborated with A1 to get the call data of the complainant V.V. Lakshminarayana and also to give in all evidence such as hard disk, laptop, memory stick/pen drive and other electronic devices. A1 was the one who submitted the details about the call data collected in front of the public court. In this crime, the lower court judge issued A1 anticipatory bail, whilst also rejecting A2’s and A3’s anticipatory bail applications.
- In crime number 23, it was alleged that A2 obtained the call data of the call made between V.V. Lakshminarayana and Chandrabala. A1 who is a senior journalist working in SAKSHI Daily Newspaper published the call data related to Chandrabala in SAKSHI Daily Newspaper as well as in SAKSHI TV Channel obtained in that way by A2. By an order dated 31.07.2012, this court had granted anticipatory bail in this crime to A1 in criminal petition 5627/2012.
Prominent Arguments by the Advocates
The petitioners’ counsel:
- It was asserted that all offences presumed against the petitioners are bailable except the offence under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. It is further argued that Section 420 would not apply to the facts of these cases as there was no fraudulent motive on the part of the accused and in these cases, the de facto complainants did not partake in any valuable assets. If the aforementioned applications are to be approved under Section 420, then the offence will be diluted to Section 417 IPC at best, which is a non-cognizable and bailable offence.
The respondent’s counsel:
- It was argued that the de facto applicant V.V. Lakshminarayana, Joint Director, CBI, Hyderabad, was dealing with crimes of high magnitude and that the publication of call data relating to him has been resorted to demoralize the officer who has done an exhausting job and the practice of publishing call information related to it.
Opinion of the Bench
- Investigation of these cases is nearly completed, except for receiving FSL report on electronic materials submitted to the laboratory. In these cases, the Investigating Officers gathered voluminous oral testimony as well as records other than material items.
- There is no allegation that A2 and A3 suppressed any information or material in crime numbers 23 and 128 0f 2012. Taking into note the circumstances of the case and facts of these cases, these are fitting cases for all the petitioners herein to be granted anticipatory bail.
- The petition was allowed and the petitioners were told to be present before the VI Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Hyderabad, on or before 13.09.2012.
- The petitioners would be granted bail after they furnish a sum of ₹10,000/- each as a personal bond along with two sureties to the satisfaction of the Magistrate.
This case summary has been prepared by Akshara Kamath, an undergraduate student at Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad, during her internship with The Cyber Blog India in June/July 2020.