Grant of Bail: SC says Court must not go Deep into Merits of Case while Considering Bail Application

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September 18, 2018

Grant of Bail: In this case, the Supreme Court set aside High Court’s order, whereby the High Court had granted bail to the respondent. The Supreme Court observed in the case that the Court must not go into deep into merits of the matter while considering an application for bail. All that needs to be established from the record is the existence of a prima facie case against the accused.

Case name: The State of Orissa v. Mahimananda Mishra

Date of Judgment: September 18, 2018

In the present case, the Appellant has challenged the High Court of Orissa’s judgment whereby the Court granted bail to the respondent who allegedly was the kingpin of the conspiracy to murder the deceased and the murder had taken place as per his directions and plan.

The Supreme Court while analyzing the facts of the case, noted that the Respondent had serious criminal antecedents, having five criminal cases registered against him, out of which two cases involve charges under Section 307, IPC and three under the Explosive Substances Act.

The Court in the case also stated that though this Court may not ordinarily interfere with the orders of the High Court granting or rejecting bail to the accused, it is open for this Court to set aside the order of the High Court, where it is apparent that the High Court has not exercised its discretion judiciously and in accordance with the basic principles governing the grant of bail.

That it is now well settled that at the time of considering an application for bail, the Court must take into account certain factors such as the existence of a prima facie case against the accused, the gravity of the allegations, position and status of the accused, the likelihood of the accused fleeing from justice and repeating the offence, the possibility of tampering with the witnesses and obstructing the Courts as well as the criminal antecedents of the accused.

It was also observed by the Court that the Court must not go into deep into merits of the matter while considering an application for bail. All that needs to be established from the record is the existence of a prima facie case against the accused.

In view of the facts and circumstances of the case, the Supreme Court in the instant case has noted that the High Court was not justified in going into the evidence on record in such a depth which amounts to ascertaining the probability of the conviction of the accused. On the other hand, the High Court has failed to appreciate several crucial factors that indicate that it was highly inappropriate to grant bail in favour of the respondent as he is a powerful and influential person in his locality and may influence the witnesses by intimidating them and if the respondent continues to remain at large, his presence may influence the trial by creating fear in the minds of the witnesses.

The entire case can be accessed here.