Mansimran Kaur

New Delhi, May 21,2022: The Supreme Court has held that sound reasoning in a particular case is a reassurance that discretion has been exercised by the decision maker after considering all the relevant grounds and by disregarding extraneous considerations.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Krishna Murari stated that grant of bail involves balancing of numerous factors, among which the nature of the offence, the severity of the punishment and a prima facie view of the involvement of the accused are important.

Facts in brief for adjudication of the present appeal were that the appellant/ informant Deepak Yadav lodged an FIR under Section 307 of IPC against the second respondent/ accused Harjeet Yadav, co- accused Sushil Kumar Yadav and two unknown persons. The allegations against the accused persons were that they killled the father of the appellant through a gunshot.  Seeing the severity of the situation, the locals informed the police. The victim himself gave the statement that he was shot by the accused persons. In pursuance of the same, the  second respondent/ accused was arrested by the police and one country made pistol with two live cartridges were recovered from him. The appellant’s father died later and on account of this, the case was converted to one under Section 302 of IPC. In view of the same, the second respondent filed the bail application before the Sessions Judge, Lucknow and the same was rejected on the ground that he was arraigned under the alleged offence on the basis of the testimony given by the  deceased himself. 

Aggrieved by the same, the second respondent approached the High Court for grant of regular bail on the ground that the co – accused was granted bail despite the fact that his case also stood on identical footing. Consequently, the High Court allowed the said application. Hence, the present appeal was preferred before the present Court.

After considering the submissions of both the parties, the Court stated that the prime issue that was to be dealt with in the present appeal was whether the High Court was justified in exercising its jurisdiction under Section 439 (1) of Code of Criminal Procedure for grant of regular bail concerning the facts of the present case. 

Quoting Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, who said, “the issue of bail is one of liberty, justice, public safety and burden of the public treasury, all of which insist that a developed jurisprudence of bail is integral to a socially sensitized judicial process”, the Bench referred to the judgments of the Top Court in Prahlad Singh Bhati Vs. NCT of Delhi And Another, Prasanta Kumar Sarkar Vs. Ashish Chatterjee And Another, Ash Mohammad Vs. Shiv Raj Singh alias Lalla Babu And Another , Ranjit Singh Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh And Others , Neeru Yadav Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh And Another , Virupakshappa Gouda And Another Vs. State of Karnataka And Another,  State of Orissa Vs. Mahimananda Mishra

The Bench asserted, “The importance of assigning reasoning for grant or denial of bail can never be undermined. There is prima facie need to indicate reasons particularly in cases of grant or denial of bail where the accused is charged with a serious offence. Thus, adverting  to the facts of the present case, the Court opined that the second respondent/ accused was the main assailant who had a weapon in his hand and was charged under Section 302 and 304 of the IPC. It was further observed that he had the clear intention to murder the deceased due to previous animosity between him and the deceased in respect to some land, which the second respondent threatened to grab. Notably, the accused had a criminal history and several criminal matters were lodged against him. 

The Court also observed that there is no straight jacket formula which exists for courts to assess an application for grant or rejection of bail but the determination of whether a case is fit for the grant of bail involves balancing of numerous factors, among which the nature of the offence, the severity of the punishment and a prima facie view of the involvement of the accused are important. Noticing that usually the Apex Court does not interfere with the order passed by the High Court pertaining to question of grant of bail, however, it is equally incumbent upon the High Court to exercise its discretion judiciously, cautiously and strictly in compliance with basic principles laid down in a catena of judgments by this Court.

Therefore, the Court observed that in the instant case it was incorrect on the part of the High Court to grant bail to the second respondent/ accused without taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the present case and appropriate evidence which proved the accused was charged of serious offence. Thus it was held that grant of bail only on the basis of parity showed that the impugned order passed by the High Court suffered from the vice of non-application of mind rendering it unsustainable. Hence, the impugned judgment of the High Court was set aside. Accordingly, the appeal was allowed. 

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