Court deciding a bail plea cannot completely divorce its decision from material aspects of case: Supreme Court

  • 10:09 AM, 12 Jan 2022

The Supreme Court has clarified that a Court while deciding a bail application cannot completely divorce its decision from material aspects of the case such as:

  1. the allegations made against the accused;  
  2. severity of the punishment if the allegations are proved beyond reasonable doubt and would   result in a conviction;  
  3. reasonable apprehension of the witnesses being influenced by the accused;
  4. tampering of the evidence;
  5. the frivolity in the case of the prosecution;
  6. criminal antecedents of the accused; and
  7. a prima facie satisfaction of the Court in support of the charge against the accused.

The Court while holding 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, added that,

“Ultimately, 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 bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice BV Nagarathna further held 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.

In such a case the prosecution or the informant has a right to assail the order before a higher forum, said the Court.

Informant­-appellant Manoj Kumar Khokhar, son of the deceased Ram Swaroop Khokhar, approached the top court assailing an Order passed by the Rajasthan High Court whereby bail was granted to the accused Ram Narayan Jat who allegedly pinned the deceased to the ground, sat on his chest and forcefully strangled him, thereby causing his death.

While revoking the bail granted to the accused, the Court considered the following relevant facts revolving around the matter:

  • The allegation against the accused under Section 302 IPC with regard to the murder of a disabled person which signalled to its grave nature.
  • The accused was also alleged to be a person exercising significant political influence in the Bhopawaspachar village and that owing to the same, the informant found it difficult to get an FIR registered against him.
  • The accused was arrested only following a protest outside a police station demanding his arrest.  Thus, the possibility of the accused threatening or otherwise influencing the witnesses, if on bail, could not be ruled out.
  • Prior to the instant bail plea, three applications seeking bail, two under Section 437 CrPC and one under Section 439 CrPC, were rejected having regard to the gravity of the offences alleged against the accused.

Justice Nagarathna while concluding her judgment remarked that strangely, the State of Rajasthan had not filed any appeal against the impugned order.

On Monday, in a similar fashion, the top court while noting that it is the duty of the Director of Prosecution and the State to ensure that the guilty are booked and punished, had pulled up the state of Gujarat for not filing an appeal against an order granting bail to persons accused of brutally murdering a man while he was "just collecting scrap outside a factory."

Cause Title: Manoj Kumar Khokhar vs State of Rajasthan & Anr.