Seriousness Of Charge Relevant Factor: Supreme Court Sets Aside Bail Granted To Man Accused Of Murdering Lady Doctor

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Case: State of Kerala vs. Mahesh

Coram: Justices Indira Banerjee and Krishna Murari

Case No: [CrA 343 of 2021]

Court Observation: “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 6th October 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 absconding after the incident.”, the bench observed.

“The impugned order of the High Court does not advert to any error in the reasoning of the Sessions Court. Nor is there any discussion of the reason why the High Court took a view different from that taken by the Sessions Court – whether there were any supervening circumstances within 10/12 days of the order of the Sessions Court, which necessitated a different view.”, it added.

“The High Court, in our opinion, clearly erred in not appreciating that the apprehension of the Prosecution that the Respondent Accused would influence witnesses, could not be put to rest, by directing the Respondent Accused not to enter the jurisdiction of Ollur Police Station. The High Court completely ignored the fact that the deceased victim used to reside at Ernakulam. Her parents and her five years old daughter reside at Ernakulam. In other words, the only eye witness is a resident of Ernakulam. Most of the Prosecution witnesses were from Thrissur. There was no reason to suppose that the witnesses would restrict their movements to the limits of the jurisdiction of Ollur Police Station.”, the court added.

The orders of this Court are not to be construed as any direction, or even observation, requiring release of under-trial prisoners charged with murder, and that too, even 23 before investigation is completed and the chargesheet is filed. The Respondent Accused, it is reiterated, is charged with murder in the presence of an eye witness, and the impugned order granting bail was filed even before the chargesheet was filed. The Chargesheet appears to have been filed on 01.01.2021. Moreover the Respondent Accused had been absconding after the incident.”, it said.


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