Public interest of fair trial would outweigh the personal interest of the accused, the bench said.
The Supreme Court, in State Of Bihar vs. Rajballav Prasad, has cancelled the bail granted by the high court to the accused charged with committing rape on a minor.
It observed that while considering a bail application, if it is found that there is a possibility of interdicting fair trial by the accused if released on bail, this public interest of fair trial would outweigh the personal interest of the accused while undertaking the task of balancing the liberty of the accused on the one hand and interest of the society to have a fair trial on the other hand.
The State of Bihar had approached the apex court against the bail granted by the Patna High Court to a man accused of offences under Sections 376, 420/34, 366-A, 370, 370-A, 212, 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, Sections 4, 6 and 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 as well as Sections 4, 5 and 6 of the Immoral Traffic Act, 1956.
The Bench comprising Justice AK Sikri and Justice AM Sapre observed that though liberty of an under-trial and his liberty is also a relevant consideration, equally important consideration is the interest of the society and fair trail of the case.
“Prime consideration before us is to protect the fair trial and ensure that justice is done. This may happen only if the witnesses are able to depose without fear, freely and truthfully and this court is convinced that in the present case, that can be ensured only if the respondent is not enlarged on bail.”
Setting aside the high court order, the bench said: “The paramount consideration should have been as is pointed out above, whether there are any chances of the accused person fleeing from justice or reasonable apprehension that the accused person would tamper with the evidence/trial if released on bail. These aspects are not dealt with by the high court appropriately and with the seriousness they deserved.”
Read the Judgment here.