SC clarifies judicial norms for grant of bail by HCs underneath Article 226

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 28

The Supreme Court has clarified judicial norms for grant of bail under Article 226 of the Constitution in suitable cases and asked high courts to consider factors such as nature of the alleged offence, the nature of the accusation and the severity of the punishment in the case of a conviction for the purpose.

“Whether prima facie the ingredients of the offence are made out, on the basis of the allegations as they stand, in the FIR and the significant interests of the public or the State and other similar considerations,” a Bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud – said on Friday in a detailed judgement granting bail to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami.

High courts should also take into account if there existed a reasonable apprehension of the accused tampering with the witnesses or being a threat to the complainant or the witnesses and he possibility of securing the presence of the accused at the trial or the likelihood of the accused fleeing from justice, the antecedents of and circumstances peculiar to the accused, it said.

However, the top court said, “The High Court must exercise its power with caution and circumspection, cognizant of the fact that this jurisdiction is not a ready substitute for recourse to the remedy of bail under Section 439 of the CrPC.”

It criticised the Bombay High Court for abdicating its role, functions and jurisdiction while denying bail to the TV news anchor.

There were 91,568 bail applications pending in high courts, while 1.96 lakh such pleas were hanging fire in district courts.

Maintaining that “Liberty is not a gift for the few”, the Supreme court asked high courts and district court’s to monitor pendency of bail applications to ensure protection of personal liberty of ordinary people.

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