Read Judgment: Manoj Kumar Khokhar V. State of Rajasthan & Anr. 

Pankaj Bajpai

New Delhi, January 17, 2022: The Supreme Court has opined that the Court considering an application for bail has to exercise discretion in a judicious manner and in accordance with the settled principles of law having regard to the crime alleged to be committed by the accused on the one hand and ensuring purity of the trial of the case on the other.

A Division Bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice B.V. Nagarathna thus observed that while elaborate reasons may not be assigned for grant of bail or an extensive discussion of the merits of the case may not be undertaken by the court considering a bail application, an order de hors reasoning or bereft of the relevant reasons cannot result in grant of bail.

Going by the background of the case, an FIR was lodged by Manoj Kumar (Appellant – son of the deceased Ram Swaroop Khokhar) for the offence of murder of his father, u/s 302 of IPC against Ram Narayan (second Respondent – accused). It was alleged that respondent had pinned the deceased to the ground, sat on his chest and forcefully strangled him, thereby causing his death. The informant – appellant further stated in the FIR that there was a pre existing rivalry between the respondent, his brothers and the deceased, which was previously informed by the deceased. The report of the postmortem examination recorded that the deceased had died as a result of “asphyxia due to ante mortem strangulation.” The respondent was therefore arrested and was sent to judicial custody. After a period of nearly one year and five months, he was granted bail by the High Court. Hence, present appeal. 

After considering the submissions, the Top Court noted that it is not necessary for a Court to give elaborate reasons while granting bail particularly when the case is at the initial stage and the allegations of the offences by the accused would not have been crystalised as such. 

There cannot be elaborate details recorded to give an impression that the case is one that would result in a conviction or, by contrast, in an acquittal while passing an order on an application for grant of bail, added the Court. 

However, speaking for the Bench, Justice Nagarathna elaborated that the Court deciding a bail application cannot completely divorce its decision from material aspects of the case such as the allegations made against the accused; severity of the punishment if the allegations are proved beyond reasonable doubt and would result in a conviction; reasonable apprehension of the witnesses being influenced by the accused; tampering of the evidence; the frivolity in the case of the prosecution; criminal antecedents of the accused; and a prima facie satisfaction of the Court in support of the charge against the accused.

“..we do not think that this case is a fit case for grant of bail to the respondent accused, having regard to the seriousness of the allegations against him. Strangely, the State of Rajasthan has not filed any appeal against the impugned order”, observed the Bench. 

Accordingly, the Apex Court allowed the appeal observing that the High Court has lost sight of the aforesaid material aspects of the case and has, by a very cryptic and casual order, de hors coherent reasoning, granted bail to the accused.

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