In a significant decision, the Allahabad High Court has held that "parity" with the co-accused cannot be the sole ground for granting bail and that each bail application has to be decided on the basis of its own merits.
The observation was made by single-Judge bench of Justice Ravi Nath Tilhari while disposing of the bail plea of one Gajendra Singh, accused of open firing on the informant and his brothers, leading to death of the informant's brothers.
Senior Advocate Manish Tiwary, appearing for the Applicant-accused, had argued that the co-accused in the FIR had already been released on bail and therefore the Applicant must be treated at par.
The Court however concurred with the submission made by the State counsel, Senior Advocate Anoop Trivedi, that parity cannot be the sole ground for granting bail.
In the present case the bench noted that the offence alleged was of serious nature and the Applicant, unlike the co-accused, had criminal antecedents.
"It is double murder, which would inflict severe punishment, in case of the applicant's conviction…The witnesses, including the informant-the injured witness, under Section 161 Cr.P.C. have named the applicant. There is recovery of fire arm of 315 bore from the possession of the applicant as per the recovery memo. There are prima facie and reasonable grounds to believe the complicity of the applicant in the commission of the offence. The applicant has criminal antecedent," the bench recorded.
It further observed that an important distinguishing factor between the Applicant and his co-accused' case was that the trial had commenced and one witness had already been examined.
Considering in totality the facts, the bench observed that it is not a "fit case" for grant of bail.
Reliance was placed on Rakesh Kumar Pandey v. Munni Singh @ Mata Bux Singh & Anr., where the Supreme Court had denounced the order of the High Court granting bail to the co-accused on the ground of parity in a heinous offence.
"Suffice it to say that for a serious charge where three murders have been committed in broad day light, the High Court has not applied its mind to the relevant materials, and merely because some of the co-accused, whom similar role has been ascribed, have been released on bail earlier, have granted bail to the present accused respondents," the Apex Court had observed.
Case Title: Gajendra Singh v. State of UP
Case No.: BA No. 2554/2019
Quorum: Justice Ravi Nath Tilhari
Appearance: Senior Advocate Manish Tiwary with Advocates Ajay Kumar Pathak and Ashwini Kumar Awasthi (for Applicant); Senior Advocate Anoop Trivedi and Advocate Kamlendra Singh Jadaun (for Respondent)
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