An unreasoned order suffers the “vice of arbitrariness” as reasoning is the lifeblood of the judicial system, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said while setting aside a Rajasthan High Court’s “cryptic” order granting bail to a man accused of raping his niece.
The observations came in a judgement delivered by a bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justice Krishna Murari on a plea of an alleged rape survivor seeking cancellation of bail of her uncle, a habitual offender, and nearly twenty cases registered against him which were not found mention in the high court order. Further, the top court noted that the High Court has failed to consider the influence that the accused may have over the victim as an elder family member.
“Reasoning is the lifeblood of the judicial system. That every order must be reasoned is one of the fundamental tenets of our system. An unreasoned order suffers the vice of arbitrariness,” the CJI, who wrote the judgement, said.
The verdict also dealt with cryptic bail orders which deal with proof at the time of considering such pleas and said, “At the stage of granting bail the Court is not required to enter into a detailed analysis of the evidence in the case. Such an exercise may be undertaken at the stage of the trial.”
The bench referred to judgements and said while dealing with bail pleas, the courts should keep in mind the factors like “position and the status of the accused with reference to the victim and the witnesses; the likelihood, of the accused fleeing from justice; of repeating the offence; of jeopardising his own life being faced with a grim prospect of possible conviction in the case; of tampering with witnesses…”.
As per the prosecution, the accused, who has been facing around 20 other criminal cases, had raped his niece in May 2021 at her residence and was arrested following the registration of the FIR.
The Rajasthan High Court, on September 20, granted bail after noting down the facts and submissions of the parties in the case.
Dealing with the high court order, the verdict said apart from general observations, “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.”
Terming the reasoning as “the lifeblood of the judicial system”, it set aside the high court’s bail order.
“In the present case, respondent no.2 accused has been accused of committing the grievous offence of rape against his young niece of nineteen years. The fact that respondent no. 2 accused is a habitual offender and nearly twenty cases registered against him has not even found mention in the impugned order,” it said.
Further, the High Court has failed to consider the influence that the accused may have over the victim as an elder family member, it said.
The period of imprisonment, being only three months, was not of such a magnitude as to push the court towards granting bail in an offence of this nature, it said.