Supreme Court cautions courts against granting bail in heinous offences


By LE Desk

New Delhi, April 2: The Supreme Court has cautioned courts against mechanically granting bail in heinous offences, saying the seriousness of the charge is a basic consideration before setting an accused free on bail.

A recent judgment by a Bench led by Justice Indira Banerjee set aside a Kerala High Court order bailing out a man accused of stabbing to death a 30-year-old dentist in front of her father in September 2020. The accused had gone absconding for several days before his arrest.

Though the trial court denied him bail, the High Court set him at liberty.

“The nature of the offence is one of the basic considerations for the grant of bail — more heinous is the crime, the greater is the chance of rejection of the bail, though, however, dependent on the factual matrix of the matter,” Justice Banerjee, who authored the judgment, observed, as reported by The Hindu.

The court agreed that grant of bail was a judge’s discretion.

“However, calls for exercise of such a discretion in a judicious manner and not as a matter of course. Order for bail bereft of any cogent reason cannot be sustained,” the judgment said.

The apex court said the accused had reached the clinic of the victim with a knife.

“He had attacked the deceased and inflicted very serious stab injury and caused damages to her internal vital organs… the High Court overlooked the materials on record, which prima facie indicate that the respondent (accused) had committed cold-blooded murder of a young lady doctor, as a fall-out of a soured relationship… After committing the crime, the petitioner had absconded and he could be apprehended only on October 6, 2020 on receiving secret information by the investigation agency…” the court noted.

The court listed the criteria a judge should consider before granting bail.

Primarily, Justice Banerjee observed, that “while granting bail the court has to keep in mind not only the nature of the accusations, but the severity of the punishment”. Other criteria include “reasonable apprehensions” of influencing witnesses or tampering of evidence.

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