In recent two Criminal Appeals, ‘Kamla Devi Vs. State of Rajasthan and Anr.’ (Criminal Appeal No 342 of 2022) and (Criminal Appeal No 343 of 2022) dated 11.03.2022, a two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court passed a Judgment dated 11.03.2022 and reversed the Order of the Hon’ble High Court of Rajasthan and held that it is imperative that the Court while deciding a Bail Application cannot completely divorce its decision from material aspects of the case.
In the present case, F.I.R No. 229 of 2019 dated 15.05.2019 was registered before the Police Station Bhim, District Rajsamand, Rajasthan, at the instance of Deceased Sohan Singh’s son (herein referred as Complainant), on the ground that the Deceased did not return to his house after attending the marriage of his nephew on 14.05.2019. It was also stated that the Deceased was last seen outside the house of the Accused-Respondents. The Complainant also informed that 3 passerby witnessed the fight between the Accused and the Deceased on the night of his death and subsequently they dragged him into their house, wherein he was assaulted and murdered. After committing the murder, the Respondents dragged the body of the Deceased and threw in a nearby well.
After due investigation, a Charge Sheet was filed on 09.07.2019 before the District Judge, Rajsamand, Rajasthan, against all the Respondents for charges under Sections 302 (Punishment for murder), 201 (Causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) and 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. On 23.05.2019, the Respondents were arrested and were sent to judicial custody for nearly 4 months. Later, the High Court granted them bail, vide Orders dated 09.09.2019 and 17.10.2019.
The Respondents moved a Bail Application before the Additional Sessions Judge, Rajsamand under Section 439 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, in Criminal Appeal No. 342 of 2022 and in Criminal Appeal No. 343 of 2022 which came to be rejected by Orders dated 09.07.2019 and 05.09.2019 respectively, on the ground of gravity of the offences alleged and the prima facie evidence on record as regards the guilt of the Accused.
Aggrieved by the rejection of Bail Applications, the Respondents approached the High Court of Rajasthan by filing separate Bail Applications. The High Court vide Orders dated 09.09.2019 and 17.10.2019 (Impugned Orders), enlarged the Respondents on bail.
Aggrieved by the grant of bail to the Respondents, the Appellant (wife of the Deceased), preferred the instant Appeals before the Apex Court, thereby challenging the Impugned Orders of the High Court.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court, after hearing the contentions of both the Appellant and the Respondents, passed a Judgment dated 11.02.2022 and made the following observations-
- The allegations against the Respondents herein are under Section 302, 201 and 34 of the IPC, with regard to the murder of the Deceased. The offences alleged against the Respondents-Accused are of grave nature.
- The accusation against the Respondents herein, is that they committed the offence of murder on the Deceased and attempted to clandestinely dispose off the dead body of the Deceased and the lathis were used to attack him, by throwing the same in a well nearby so as to conceal the offence.
- The bail applications preferred by the Respondents-Accused under Section 439 of the CrPC before the Additional Sessions Judge, Rajsamand, Rajasthan were rejected, having regard to the gravity of the offences alleged.
- The High Court of Rajasthan, in the Impugned Orders dated 09.09.2019 and 17.10.2019, has not considered the afore stated aspects of the case in the context of the grant of bail.
The Apex Court also observed that, the court while considering the grant of bail must not always engage on the merits of the case. The Supreme Court was of a view that, the Hon’ble High Court while passing the Impugned Orders did not consider even a single material aspect of the case. The Impugned Order passed by the High Court is, very cryptic and casual and with de hors cogent reasoning. Hence the Appeal was allowed and the Impugned Orders of the High Court were set aside.
The Indian Lawyer