Read Judgment: MS.Y Vs. STATE OF RAJASTHAN AND ANR
New Delhi, April 20, 2022: Observing that an unreasoned order suffers from the vice of arbitrariness, the Supreme Court has disapproved of the recent trend of Courts of passing orders granting or refusing to grant bail, making a general observation that “the facts and the circumstances” have been considered.
While setting aside the impugned order of the Rajasthan High Court wherein the bail was granted to the accused without giving any proper reasoning, the Division Bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Krishna Murari said, “Reasoning is the life blood of the judicial system. That every order must be reasoned is one of the fundamental tenets of our system.”
Brief facts of the case were such that the present appeal before the Apex Court was filed against the final judgment and order dated September 20, 2021 wherein the Jaipur Bench of the Rajasthan High Court granted bail to the second respondent-accused.
The appellant assailed the judgment of the High Court by submitting that it erred in approving the bail of the accused as the same was passed without considering the gravity of the offence and the fact that there were already two criminal cases pending against him. Thus, pursuant to the same, the appellant prayed before this Court to exercise its jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution to set aside the bail granted to the accused.
The Counsel for the State conceded with the submissions of the appellant and submitted that the impugned order was a cryptic one which was liable to be set aside. It was further submitted that there was a strong prima facie case against the second respondent-accused who committed the heinous offence of rape and sexual assault upon his minor niece for nearly three to four years. Further, the accused was an infamous criminal who had twenty criminal cases registered against him and in some of those he had already been convicted.
On the contrary , the Counsel for the second respondent- accused submitted that the accused was granted bail in the impugned order of the High Court after hearing the parties. It was further submitted that it is a settled proposition of law that the appellate Court must be slow to interfere in an order granting bail to the accused.
This Court after hearing the submissions of the parties, dealt with the allegations made against the accused in the FIR registered against the accused by the appellant dated May 30 , 2021 wherein it was stated that the accused raped her niece on two occasions. It was further submitted that the accused misbehaved with the appellant several times and tried to form physical relationship with her. In the opinion of the Bench, the High Court should have considered these allegations and then determine the issue of granting bail to the accused.
The Top Court referred to a plethora of its judgements wherein the considerations on the basis of which the discretionary power under Section 439 Cr.P.C is to be exercised have been outlined.
In the case of Gurcharan Singh v. State (Delhi Administration), this Court held that the overriding considerations in granting bail are the nature and gravity of the circumstances in which the offence is committed, the position and the status of the accused with reference to the victim and the witnesses, the likelihood of the accused fleeing from justice, repeating the offence or jeopardizing his own life being faced with a grim prospect of possible conviction in the case, tampering with witnesses; the history of the case as well as of its investigation and other relevant grounds which cannot be exhaustively set out.
Further in the case of Bihar Legal Support Society v. Chief Justice of India, it was held that this Court should not ordinarily, save in exceptional cases, interfere with orders granting or refusing bail or anticipatory bail, because these are matters in which the High Court should normally be the final arbiter.
After citing the above stated judgements and observing their findings, the Court observed that in the instant case the question of law was whether the discretionary power of the High Court was exercised appropriately under Section 439 CrPC in granting bail to the accused.
The Court noted that what is being considered in this case relates to whether the High Court has exercised the discretionary power under Section 439 CrPC in granting bail appropriately. Such an assessment is different from deciding whether circumstances subsequent to the grant of bail have made it necessary to cancel the same. The first situation requires the Court to analyze whether the order granting bail was illegal, perverse, unjustified or arbitrary. On the other hand, an application for cancellation of bail looks at whether supervening circumstances have occurred warranting cancellation, added the Bench.
The Bench also referred to the Supreme Court’s judgment in Neeru Yadav v. State of U.P wherein it was observed that if in a case, the relevant factors which should have been taken into consideration while dealing with the application for bail have not been taken note of, or bail is founded on irrelevant considerations, indisputably the superior court can set aside the order of such a grant of bail.
Thus this Court after taking into consideration the findings of the cases cited above and the facts of the instant case, observed that the offences alleged against the accused were grave in nature. It was further observed that the facts of the case vividly stated that the accused was a habitual offender and there were criminal cases of kidnapping, murder , dacoity etc. which were pending against the accused and he was also convicted in some cases.
It was also stated that the High Court passed the order without mentioning any reasoning for backing the same. The case of Puran v. Rambilas was also referred to wherein it was held while granting bail some reasons for prima facie concluding why bail was being granted have to be indicated. The Bench referred to another judgment in Kalyan Chandra Sarkar v. Rajesh Ranjan, wherein this Court t indicated the importance of reasoning in the matter concerning bail and held there is a need to indicate in such orders reasons for prima facie concluding why bail was being granted. Further in the case of Brij Nandan Jaiswal v. Munna, this Court held that while granting bail, particularly in serious cases like murder some reasons justifying the grant are necessary.
Thus, after considering the reasoning of the rulings of this Court in the precedents cited above, the Apex Court observed that the impugned order of the High Court was a cryptic one with no proper reasoning and application of mind. Therefore the impugned order of the High Court was set aside. Accordingly, the appeal was allowed and bail bonds were canceled. Directions were also issued to the accused to surrender within one week from the date of this order.