Reasoning Life Blood Of Judicial System – Supreme Court Reverses HC's Order Granting Bail In Rape Case
A two-judge Bench of CJI NV Ramana and Justice Krishna Murari while commenting upon the way in which the impugned order of the High Court was passed that granted bail to the accused in a rape case held that reasoning is the lifeblood of the judicial system.
The Court also noted that every order must be reasoned and that is one of the fundamental tenets of our system. Further, it held that a reasoned order suffers the vice of arbitrariness.
An appeal was preferred before the Supreme Court assailing the impugned order of the Rajasthan High Court that had granted bail to Respondent No. 2 who was accused of committing rape on his 19 years old niece.
The Appellant argued before the Apex Court that the High Court erred in granting bail to the accused in a mechanical manner without any reasoning. Further, it was also contended that the High Court did not consider that the accused was a hardened criminal with nearly twenty criminal cases pending against him.
Respondent No. 1 – State also supported the contentions of the Appellant and contended that the impugned order is a cryptic one and liable to be set aside.
While Respondent No. 2 – Accused argued that it is a settled position of law that the Appellate Court must be slow to interfere in the order granting bail to the accused.
The Apex Court noted that it has in a catena of judgments outlined the considerations on the basis of which discretion under Section 439 CrPC has to be exercised while granting bail.
Further, the Bench also held that there is no straitjacket formula that can ever be prescribed as to what the relevant factors could be for the grant of bail. However, certain factors that are always considered inter alia related to prima facie involvement of the accused, nature and gravity of the offence, severity of the punishment, and the character, position, and standing of the accused (State of U.P. v. Amarmani Tripathi, (2005) 8 SCC 21).
Additionally, the Bench opined that at the stage of granting bail the Court is not required to enter into a detailed analysis of the evidence of the case. Such an exercise may be undertaken at the stage of the trial.
In this context, the Court observed –
"Once bail has been granted, the Appellate Court is usually slow to interfere with the same as it pertains to the liberty of an individual."
The Court also made a reference to the recent decision of Jagjeet Singh & Ors. V. Ashish Mishra @ Monu & Anr. in Criminal Appeal No. 632 of 2022, in which the Supreme Court has set aside the bail granted to Ashish Mishra the prime accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident. The Court has reiterated the factors that the Court must consider while granting bail under Section 439 CrPC.
Further, the Bench noted that the impugned order of the High Court does not suggest that the Court has considered any of the relevant factors for the grant of bail.
"Apart from the general observation that the facts and circumstances of the case have been taken into account, nowhere have the actual facts of the case been adverted to. There appears to be no reference to the factors that ultimately led the High Court to grant bail. In fact, no reasoning is apparent from the impugned order," the Bench opined.
The Court also held that the impugned order passed by the High Court is cryptic and does not suggest any application of mind.
Accordingly, the Court set aside the impugned order of the High Court and allowed the appeal, and directed the accused to surrender within a week.