15 July 2019


Judgments

Supreme Court

The State of Orissa and Ors. Vs. Mahimananda Mishra and Ors.

MANU/SC/1011/2018

18.09.2018

Criminal

Court must not go deep into merits of matter while considering an application for bail

The two instant appeals have been preferred by the State of Orissa and the de-facto informant in FIR registered at Police Station in Orissa State against the order of the High Court, by which an application for bail filed by the Respondent herein in connection with the aforementioned first information has been allowed. Issue raised in present case is whether High Court is right in granting bail to Respondent.

It is common knowledge that, generally direct evidence may not be available to prove conspiracy, as the act of conspiracy takes place secretly. Only the conspirators would be knowing about the conspiracy. However, the Court, while evaluating the material, may rely upon other material which suggests conspiracy. Such material will be on record during the course of trial. However, at this stage, prima facie, the Court needs to take into consideration the overall material while considering the prayer for bail.

Though present 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.

It is by 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 is also well settled 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.

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.

Since the Respondent is an influential person in his locality, in terms of both money and muscle power, there is a reasonable apprehension that he might tamper with or otherwise adversely influence the investigation, which is still going on qua some of the co-accused in the case, or that he might intimidate witnesses before or during the trial. The High Court in observing that, there was no possibility of the Respondent's absconding in light of his being a local businessman, not only completely overlooked his past attempt to evade the process of law, but also overlooked the implications of the clout enjoyed by him in the community. The impugned judgment of the High Court granting an order of bail in favour of the Respondent is set aside. The instant appeals are accordingly allowed.

Tags : Bail Grant Legality

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