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Perfunctory analysis cannot be sustained: SC on bail


The bench encompassing Justice Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and Justice Hrishikesh Roy collectively pronounced judgment on presumption of the non-application of mind in granting bail which may require the intervention of Supreme Court. There were several appeals filed and the batch of appeals aroused from a judgment of a learned Single Judge of the High Court of Rajasthan at its Jaipur Bench dated 10 May 2019. Allowing the bail application filed under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 19731, the High Court enlarged the first respondent on bail subject to certain conditions therein. The original complainant is in appeal before the Hon’ble Supreme Court. By similar orders, the learned Single Judge granted bail to the other four accused – Anil Kumar, Ajay Kumar, Vikas Kumar and Vijay Kumar. The appeals filed by the appellant against those orders have been tagged with the present appeal.

on 2 December 2018, the deceased (Akhilesh) and his friend Aashish left the matrimonial home to run an errand. They stopped their bike on the road which caused a quarrel with two accused persons – Vijay and Anil, who then hurled abuses at the deceased. It was alleged that the accused used rods to beat the deceased with an intention to kill him. It was alleged that after beating the deceased, the accused fled from the scene of the incident. The deceased was rushed to Jhunjhunu R & R Hospital at Chirawa. He was declared dead in Fortis Hospital. A charge-sheet was filed against the five accused on 10 March 2019 under Sections 147, 148, 149, 302 and 397 of the Indian Penal Code. The bail application filed by the first respondent before the Additional Sessions Judge was rejected on 10 April, 2019. Thereafter, the first respondent filed a bail application before the High Court of Rajasthan, which was allowed. Assailing the order of the High Court enlarging the first respondent on bail, the appellant filed the present appeal.

The appellants argued that the High Court failed to appreciate the statement of the sole injured eye-witness Aashish who was present at the spot of the incident that the accused were responsible for the death of the deceased and it had not passed a reasoned order justifying the grant of bail to the accused. They contended that the phone of the deceased was recovered from one of the accused Anil, while the bike involved in the incident was recovered from the first respondent. Per contra, the respondents argued that on the date of the incident, there was an altercation between the deceased and the first respondent, in which the deceased was the aggressor. Thereafter, the deceased fell off his bike and suffered injuries which caused his eventual death. They contended that no prime facie case had been made out against the accused justifying the setting aside of bail.

The Court observed the following:

  1. The power to grant bail under Section 439 was of a wide amplitude. But it was well settled that though the grant of bail involved the exercise of the discretionary power of the court, it had to be exercised in a judicious manner and not as a matter of course.

  2. It relied on the decision in Ram Govind Upadhyay v Sudarshan Singh; Prasanta Kumar Sarkar v Ashis Chatterjee; Ash Mohammad v Shiv Raj Singh; Ranjit Singh v State of Madhya Pradesh; Neeru Yadav v State of U.P; Virupakshappa Gouda v State of Karnataka; State of Orissa v Mahimananda Mishra; Neeru Yadav v State of Uttar Pradesh; and Kalyan Chandra Sarkar v Rajesh Ranjan.

  3. The determination of whether a case was fit for the grant of bail involved the 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.

  4. The provision for an accused to be released on bail touches upon the liberty of an individual.

  5. However, where the discretion of the High Court to grant bail had been exercised without the due application of mind or in contravention of the directions of the Supreme Court, such an order granting bail was liable to be set aside.

  6. The correctness of an order granting bail is tested on the anvil of whether there was an improper or arbitrary exercise of the discretion in the grant of bail.

  7. A court assessing a plea of bail was required to find a prima facie view of the possibility of the commission of the crime by the accused and not conclude that the alleged crime was in fact committed by the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

  8. The High Court has erred in not considering material relevant to the determination of whether the accused were to be enlarged on bail. The order of the High Court enlarging the accused on bail was erroneous and liable to be set aside.

  9. It was a sound exercise of judicial discipline for an order granting or rejecting bail to record the reasons which have weighed with the court for the exercise of its discretionary power.

  10. Where an order refusing or granting bail did not furnish the reasons that inform the decision, there was a presumption of the non-application of mind which may require the intervention of Supreme Court.

The Court then pronounced the following:

“The appeal is allowed and the order of the High Court enlarging the first respondent on bail is set aside. The connected appeals also are allowed in terms of the judgment recorded above. Since the accused have been released on bail during the pendency of these proceedings, we order that the bail bonds shall stand cancelled and the five accused shall be taken into custody forthwith. A copy of this judgment shall be forwarded to the Additional Sessions Judge, Chirawa District, Jhunjhunu and the police station concerned to secure compliance.  We clarify that the present judgment shall not be construed as the expression of any opinion on the merits of the case at the trial.”

Jumanah Kader



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