SC: Mere assertion that accused approached witness not basis to deny bail

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 22nd October 2019, in the matter of Shri P. Chidambaram v.  Central Bureau Of Investigation pronounced that mere averments that the accused approached the witnesses and the assertion that the accused would further pressurise the witnesses, without any material basis cannot be the reason to deny regular bail to the accused.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

Expression of prima facie reasons for granting or refusing to grant bail is a requirement of law especially where such bail orders are appealable so as to indicate application of mind to the matter under consideration and the reasons for conclusion. Recording of reasons is necessary since the accused/prosecution/victim has every right to know the reasons for grant or refusal to grant bail. This will also help the appellate court to appreciate and consider the reasonings for grant or refusal to grant bail. (Para 17)

But giving reasons for exercise of discretion in granting or refusing to grant bail is different from discussing the merits or demerits of the case. At the stage of granting bail, an elaborate examination of evidence and detailed reasons touching upon the merit of the case, which may prejudice the accused, should be avoided. (Para 17)

(Para 22) The following factors are to be taken into consideration while considering an application for bail:-

(i) the nature of accusation and the severity of the punishment in the case of conviction and the nature of the materials relied upon by the prosecution;

(ii) reasonable apprehension of tampering with the witnesses or apprehension of threat to the complainant or the witnesses;

(iii) reasonable possibility of securing the presence of the accused at the time of trial or the likelihood of his abscondence;

(iv) character behaviour and standing of the accused and the circumstances which are peculiar to the accused;

(v) larger interest of the public or the State and similar other considerations

The discretion of the court has to be exercised judiciously and not in an arbitrary manner. (Para 22)

Mere averments that the accused approached the witnesses and the assertion that the appellant would further pressurise the witnesses, without any material basis cannot be the reason to deny regular bail to the appellant. (Para 31)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_22-Oct-2019

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik 

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