A two-judge Bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice BV Nagarathna has held that the Court granting anticipatory bail must not ignore the material aspects, including the nature and gravity of the offence, and the specific allegations put against the accused.
An appeal was preferred against the judgment of Single Judge of Jabalpur Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court which had allowed the applications for anticipatory bail filed by the second Respondents by way of two appeals under section 438 CrPc. The Respondents were charged for offences under sections 302 and 323 read with section 34 of IPC.
In this case, the four Respondents-Accused were charged with the murder of the deceased following an FIR lodged at the instance of the Appellant who was with the deceased on the day of the commission of the crime. Out of the four accused, two of them filed for anticipatory bail which was allowed by the High Court based upon the report submitted by the investigating officer. As per the report, the two accused were not present at the place of crime.
In turn, a counter FIR was lodged by one of the Respondent-Accused against the deceased and the Appellant under sections 294, 506, 323, 324, and 34 of the IPC.
It was argued by the Appellant that the Single Judge had ignored the observations made by the Judicial Magistrate First Class that the investigation had ignored certain vital circumstances pertaining to the crime.
It was further contended that the Single Judge had ignored the seriousness and gravity of the crime and hence the anticipatory bail should be canceled.
The Apex Court after considering the contentions of the parties at length, observed, "The material at this stage cannot be examined with a fine toothcomb in the manner of a criminal trial. What needs to be determined is whether the parameters for the grant of anticipatory bail were correctly formulated and applied by the Single Judge."
The Court held the High Court could not have ignored the Appellant's case by solely relying upon the Respondent's counter FIR.
The Bench opined that the High Court did not address the clear deficiencies in the course of investigation which were also highlighted by the Judicial Magistrate First Class and subsequently the applications for anticipatory bail were rejected by JMFC.
"The Court has to determine whether on the basis of the material available at this stage, the High Court has applied the correct principles in allowing the applications for anticipatory bail," the Court asserted.
"The order granting anticipatory bail has ignored material aspects, including the nature and gravity of the offence, and the specific allegations against Joginder Singh and Suryabhan Singh."
The Court was of the view that a sufficient case was made out for canceling the anticipatory bail of the Respondents-Accused granted by the High Court.
In the light of these observations, the Court allowed the appeals and set aside the impugned judgments of the Single Bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court.