The Supreme Court on Friday quashed the Kerala High Court order by which bail was granted to a man accused of the murder of a woman doctor while observing that seriousness of the charge is one of the relevant considerations while considering bail applications.
The Bench headed by Justice Indira Banerjee observed that the power to grant bail under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is discretionary, “such discretion has to be exercised judiciously”.
“There is no straight-jacket formula for grant or refusal of bail. The seriousness of the charge is undoubtedly one of the relevant considerations while considering bail applications,” the court added.
The Session’s Court had dismissed the bail application of the accused while the High Court allowed it observing that indefinite incarceration was not necessary. The government approached the top court against the High Court order.
As per the prosecution case, on September 28, 2020, the accused Mahesh stabbed a doctor, who was around 30 years of age, in the stomach with a knife inside a multispecialty dental clinic run by her, in the presence of her father.
The prosecution said the victim and the accused were living together from 2018 onwards. She later started the Multispeciality Dental Clinic, with financial support from her father. Mahesh misappropriated money from the clinic and also harassed the victim, both physically and mentally. In the circumstances, the victim was constrained to separate from the accused and start living at her own house.
As the accused continued to threaten the victim, the victim had, along with her father, filed a complaint with the City Police Commissioner, Thrissur on September 26, 2020.
The top court in its recent order stated, “In this case, the impugned order of the High Court is flawed, in that the High Court noted the seriousness of the offence alleged, observed that the incident was heinous, but proceeded to grant bail to the Respondent Accused on the purported ground that he had been in custody since October 6, 2020, (that is, about 75 days) without even considering the materials on record which prima facie made out reasonable grounds to believe that the Respondent Accused had committed the heinous offence
At that stage, even the chargesheet had not been filed. The High Court did not apply its mind to the severity of the punishment in the event of conviction, or the fact that the accused had been on the run after the incident.”
The Bench also noted that the High Court did neither consider nor discuss the elaborate reasons given by the Sessions Court in its order rejecting the prayer of the accused for bail.