Some Supreme Court Judgements For Granting Bail
(a) While granting bail the Court has to keep in mind not only the nature of the accusations but the severity of the punishment if the accusation entails a conviction and the nature of evidence in support of the accusations.
(b) Reasonable apprehensions of the witnesses being tampered with or the apprehension of there being a threat for the complainant should also weigh with the Court in the matter of granting of bail.
(c) While it is not acceptable to have the entire evidence establishing the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt but there ought always to be a prima facie satisfaction of the Court in support of the charge.
(d) Frivolity in prosecution should always be considered and it is only the element of genuineness that shall have to be considered in the matter of grant of bail and in the event of there being some doubt as to the genuineness of the prosecution, in the normal course of events, the accused is entitled to an order of bail.
1 – Vaman Narain Ghiya v. the State Of Rajasthan, Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that:-
Balance to be maintained between the personal liberty of the accused and the investigation right of the police. –An accused is not detained in custody with the object of punishing him on the assumption of his guilt.
Personal liberty is fundamental and can be circumscribed only by some process sanctioned by law. Liberty of a citizen is undoubtedly important but this is to balance with the security of the community. A balance is required to be maintained between the personal liberty of the accused and the investigation right of the police. It must result in minimum interference with the personal liberty of the accused and the right of the police to investigate the case. It has to dovetail two conflicting demands, namely, on the one hand, the requirements of the society for being shielded from the hazards of being exposed to the misadventures of a person alleged to have committed a crime; and on the other, the fundamental canon of criminal jurisprudence viz. the presumption of innocence of an accused till he is found guilty.
Liberty exists in proportion to wholesome restraint, the more restraint on others to keep off from us, the more liberty we have. The law of bail, like any other branch of law, has its own philosophy, and occupies an important place in the administration of justice and the concept of bail emerges from the conflict between the police power to restrict liberty of a man who is alleged to have committed a crime, and presumption of innocence in favour of the alleged criminal. An accused is not detained in custody with the object of punishing him on the assumption of his guilt.
A detailed discussion of the evidence and elaborate documentation of the merits is to be avoided while considering an application for bail-
While considering an application for bail, detailed discussion of the evidence and elaborate documentation of the merits is to be avoided. This requirement stems from the desirability that no party should have the impression that his case has been pre-judged. Existence of a prima facie case is only to be considered. Elaborate analysis or exhaustive exploration of the merits is not required. (See Niranjan Singh and Anr. v. Prabhakar Rajram Kharote and Ors). Where the offence is of serious nature the question of grant of bail has to be decided keeping in view the nature and seriousness of the offence, character of the evidence and amongst others the larger interest of the public. (See State of Maharashtra v. Anand Chaintaman Dighe AIR 1990 SC 625 and State v. Surendranath Mohanty 1990 (3) OCR 462).
2 – Sukhwant Singh and Others v. State Of Punjab, it was held that:-
Reputation of a person is his valuable asset and is a facet of his right under Article 21- Granting of bail pending regular bail application Following the decision of this Court in the case of Kamlendra Pratap Singh Vs. State of U.P. and Others [(2009) 4 SCC 437], we reiterate that a Court hearing a regular bail application has got inherent power to grant interim bail pending final disposal of the bail application. In our opinion, this is the proper view in view of Article 21 of the Constitution of India which protects the life and liberty of every person.
The reputation of a person is his valuable asset, and is a facet of his right under Article 21 of the Constitution.
When a person applies for regular bail then the court concerned ordinarily lists that application after a few days so that it can look into the case diary which has to be obtained from the police authorities and in the meantime the applicant has to go to jail. Even if the applicant is released on bail thereafter, his reputation may be tarnished irreparably in society. The reputation of a person is his valuable asset, and is a facet of his right under Article 21 of the Constitution vide Deepak Bajaj v. State of Maharashtra and Another [(2008) 16 SCC 14]. Hence, we are of the opinion that in the power to grant bail there is inherent power in the court concerned to grant interim bail to a person pending final disposal of the bail application. Of course, it is in the discretion of the court concerned to grant interim bail or not but the power is certainly there.
3 – State of U.P. Through C.B.I v. Amarmani Tripathi
Factors to be considered while granting bail: It is well settled that the matters to be considered in an application for bail are (i) whether there is any prima facie or reasonable ground to believe that the accused had committed the offence; (ii) nature and gravity of the charge;(iii) severity of the punishment in the event of conviction; (iv) danger of accused absconding or fleeing if released on bail; (v) character, behavior, means, position and standing of the accused; (vi) likelihood of the offence being repeated; (vii) reasonable apprehension of the witnesses being tampered with; and (viii) danger, of course, of justice being thwarted by grant of bail (See Prahlad Singh Bhati v. NCT, Delhi (2001) 4 SCC 280 and Gurcharan Singh v. State (Delhi Administration) (1978) 1 SCC 118). While a vague allegation that accused may tamper with the evidence or witnesses may not be a ground to refuse bail, if the accused is of such character that his mere presence at large would intimidate the witnesses or if there is material to show that he will use his liberty to subvert justice or tamper with the evidence, then bail will be refused.
Scope of interference in the matters of bail – Art 136 The general rule that this Court will not ordinarily interfere in matters relating to bail, is subject to exceptions where there are special circumstances and when the basic requirements for grant of bail are completely ignored by the High Court.
4 – Kalyan Chandra Sarkar v. Rajesh Ranjan @ Pappu Yadav and Another
Person whose application for enlargement on bail is once rejected is not precluded from filing a subsequent application for grant of bail if there is a change in the fact situation.
Findings of a higher court or a coordinate bench must receive serious consideration at the hands of the court entertaining a bail application at a later stage when the same had been rejected earlier.
The principles of res judicata and such analogous principles although are not applicable in a criminal proceeding, but the courts are bound by the doctrine of judicial discipline having regard to the hierarchical system prevailing in our country.In such an event, the courts must give due weight to the grounds which weighed with the former or higher court in rejecting the bail application. Ordinarily, the issues which had been canvassed earlier would not be permitted to be reagitated on the same grounds, as the same it would lead to a speculation and uncertainty in the administration of justice and may lead to forum hunting.
Subsequent bail application – Allowed, if there is a change in the fact situation or in law which requires the earlier view being interfered with or where the earlier finding has become obsolete.
The decisions given by a superior forum, undoubtedly, is binding on the subordinate fora on the same issue even in bail matters unless of course, there is a material change in the fact situation calling for a different view being taken. Therefore, even though there is room for filing a subsequent bail application in cases where earlier applications have been rejected, the same can be done if there is a change in the fact situation or in law which requires the earlier view being interfered with or where the earlier finding has become obsolete. This is the limited area in which an accused who has been denied bail earlier, can move a subsequent application.
Therefore, we are not in agreement with the argument of learned counsel for the accused that in view the guaranty conferred on a person under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, it is open to the aggrieved person to make successive bail applications even on a ground already rejected by courts earlier including the Apex Court of the country.
5 – Akhtari Bi (Smt.) v. State Of M.P.
Prolonged delay in disposal of the trials and thereafter appeals in criminal cases, for no fault of the accused, confers a right upon him to apply for bail .
To have speedy justice is a fundamental right which flows from Article 21 of the Constitution.
Prolonged delay in disposal of the trials and thereafter appeals in criminal cases, for no fault of the accused, confers a right upon him to apply for bail. This Court, has time and again, reminded the executive of their obligation to appoint requisite number of judges to cope with the ever increasing pressure on the existing judicial apparatus. Appeal being a statutory right, the trial court’s verdict does not attain finality during pendency of the appeal and for that purpose his trial is deemed to be continuing despite conviction.
We feel that if an appeal is not disposed of within the aforesaid period of 5 years, for no fault of the convicts, such convicts may be released on bail on such conditions as may be deemed fit and proper by the Court.
Kapil Chandna Advocate
Practicing at Supreme Court of India