The Karnataka High Court has said that courts are bound to take into consideration all the contentions raised by the parties while hearing a bail petition filed before it and then pass an appropriate order.
A single judge bench of Justice Mohammad Nawaz while granting bail to Nelson Raj and three other accused said,
"When a bail petition is filed, the Court is bound to take into consideration all the contentions raised and pass an appropriate order. It is necessary to look into the material on record which prima facie connects the accused with the crime and adverting to those materials, Court can come to the conclusion as to whether a prima facie case has been made out or not and shall assign reasons for either allowing or rejecting a bail petition."
The accused were charged under Sections 302, 120B and 149 of IPC and Section 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The complaint was lodged by one Lakshmamma, mother of deceased Harish. It was alleged that her son was murdered by one Rakshith and his associates by assaulting him with deadly weapons.
The appellants preferred a petition under Section 439 of CrPC before the Special Court, praying to enlarge them on bail, which was rejected vide impugned order 25.11.2021.
It was contended that after the arrest of the accused persons, the alleged eye witnesses namely CWs.3 and 4 did not identify them. Further, there were contradictions in their statements recorded under Section 164 of CrPC. The names of other accused persons except accused No.1 were not in the First Information Report and similarly placed accused No.6 had been enlarged on bail by the Sessions Court.
The bench said that whereas while deciding the grant of bail, seriousness of the offence, likelihood of the accused fleeing from justice, impact of release of the accused on the prosecution witnesses and likelihood of the accused tampering with evidence are primary considerations, "but, at the same time, the Court has to come to a reasonable conclusion as to whether there is any prima facie or reasonable ground to believe that the accused has committed the offence, followed by the nature and gravity of the charge and severity of the punishment."
It then opined that certain important factors relating to prima facie involvement of the accused have to be considered, though no detailed discussion regarding merits of the case is required. Where a Court considering an application for bail fails to consider the relevant factors, an appellate Court may justifiably set aside the order.
"Bail orders either granting or refusing cannot be passed in a mechanical manner or by a cryptic order, without considering the material aspects of the case. Court is duty bound to give reasons for granting or denying bail, especially in cases involving serious offences," it said.
On going through the order passed by the special court the bench held,
"The impugned order falls short of such reasoning for dismissing the bail petition. The learned Special Judge has not adverted to the various contentions stated to have been raised by the appellants counsel, except stating that accused are alleged to have committed a brutal murder of deceased and a prima facie case is made out against the accused etc."
It added, "The Special Judge has failed to advert to the various contentions said to have been raised by the Counsel appearing for the accused before the trial Court. The reasons for rejecting the prayer for bail does not appear to be in accordance with law."
Accordingly it allowed the appeal and set aside the special court order and remitted the matter back to the trial court directing it to hear the parties concerned afresh and pass orders on the bail application, in accordance with law, as expeditiously as possible.
Case Title: NELSON RAJ v. THE STATE OF KARNATAKA
Case No: CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.336 OF 2022 C/W CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.267 OF 2022 & CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.337 OF 2022.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw 229
Date of Order: 21ST DAY OF JUNE, 2022
Appearance: Advocate RAMAKRISHNA SRINIVASAN for appellants; HCGP R.D. RENUKARADHYA, FOR R.1