Bail is rule and jail is exception, reminded the Apex Court while granting bail to a person whose bail application was rejected by the High Court even though the Police had filed closure report.
A forgery case was registered against the accused in 2012. The police filed a closure report in 2013. But five years later, a Judicial Magistrate ordered further investigation. He was thereafter arrested in January 2019. His first bail application before the Madhya Pradesh High Court was dismissed. The second was dismissed as withdrawn.
Meanwhile, the police reinvestigated the case and submitted a second report stating that no offence has been committed by the appellant and he deserves to be discharged. After filing of this closure report, the accused filed yet another bail application before High Court, on the grounds that the second closure report has not been accepted by the Trial Court and that appellant has failed to point out whether material witnesses have been examined or not.
While allowing the appeal filed by the accused, the bench of CJI SA Bobde, Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant, said:
"The High Court ought to have kept in view that `Bail is rule and jail is exception'. There is no gainsaying that bail should not be granted or rejected in a mechanical manner as it concerns the liberty of a person. In peculiar circumstances of this case where closure report was filed twice, the High Court ought not to have declined bail only because the trial court was yet to accept the said report. Further, the examination of witnesses would depend upon the fate of 2nd closure report. Considering the nature of allegations attributed to the appellant and the period he has already spent in custody, we are satisfied that he deserves to be released on bail forthwith."
Case name: Jeetendra vs. State of Madhya Pradesh
Case no.: CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.408 OF 2020
Coram: CJI SA Bobde, Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant