Grant of bail to an accused.

Liberty and community

Liberty of a citizen is undoubtedly important but this is to balance with the security of the community. A balance is required to be maintained between the personal liberty of the accused and the investigational rights of the agency. It must result in minimum interference with the personal liberty of the accused and the right of the agency to investigate the case.

Considerations for grant of bail

The law in regard to grant or refusal of bail is very well settled. The court granting bail should exercise its discretion in a judicious manner and not as a matter of course. Though at the stage of granting bail a detailed examination of evidence and elaborate documentation of the merit of the case need not be undertaken, there is a need to indicate in such orders reasons for prima facie concluding why bail was being granted particularly where the accused is charged of having committed a serious offence. Any order devoid of such reasons would suffer from non-application of mind. It is also necessary for the court granting bail to consider, among other circumstances, the following factors also before granting bail; they are:

(a) The nature of accusation and the severity of punishment in case of conviction and the nature of supporting evidence.

(b) Reasonable apprehension of tampering with the witness or apprehension of threat to the complainant.

(c) Prima facie satisfaction of the court in support of the charge.

Successive bail applications

An accused has a right to make successive applications for grant of bail, the court entertaining such subsequent bail applications has a duty to consider the reasons and grounds on which the earlier bail applications were rejected. In such cases, the court also has a duty to record the fresh grounds which persuade it to take a view different from the one taken in the earlier applications.

Examination of evidence

At the stage of granting bail, a detailed examination of evidence and elaborate documentation of the merits of the case has not to be undertaken. The grant or refusal to grant bail lies within the discretion of the court. The grant or denial is regulated, to a large extent, by the facts and circumstances of each particular case. But at the same time, right to bail is not to be denied merely because of the sentiments of the community against the accused.

[Source: Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit vs State of Maharashtra, decided on 21 August, 2017 by Supreme Court]

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