On 26 August 2020, The Kerala High Court involving a single bench judge of Honourable Mr Justice V.G. Arun heard the case of State of Kerala v. Ramesh.
Facts of the Case
On 05.03.2020, the Inspector of Police, Munambam Police Station found accused loitering outside a homestay on the Munambam- Cherai Beach Road under suspicious circumstances. The accused were taken into custody and their room and its premises were searched, which resulted in the recovery of arms from the car outside the homestay. On questioning the accused, it was revealed that, along with others, they had planned the murder of one Anas of Perumbavoor. It was thereupon registered at the Munambam Police Station for offences punishable under Sections 115, 118, 120B and 302 of IPC and Section 5(1) (a) read with 27(1) of the Arms Act. The accused were produced before the jurisdictional Magistrate Court and remanded to custody. The investigating officer submitted the final report on 01.05.2020. A report, pointing out the need for further investigation into the involvement and role of the co-conspirators named in the final report, was filed on 09.05.2020. The learned Magistrate granted bail on the premise that the accused had been arrested on 05.03.2020 and the final report was submitted on 01.05.2020. Hence, further remand of the accused would amount to punishment.
Learned Senior Public Prosecutor relied on the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court in Mahipal v. Rajesh Kumar @ Polia [2020 AIAR (CRIMINAL) 346], Neeru Yadav v. the State of U.P., [(2016) 15 SCC 422], the State of Bihar v. Rajballav Prasad [(2017) 2 SCC 178] to buttress his contention that bail should not be granted mechanically and non-consideration of crucial aspects would render an order granting bail illegal.
The learned Senior Counsel contended that the State is guilty of suppression of the material fact that the 9th accused, the alleged kingpin, had obtained bail from the Magistrate Court on 05.05.2020 and the challenge against that order was repelled by the Sessions Court. The learned Senior Counsel highlighted the fact that all other accused, of whom 5 to 7 are identically placed, were granted bail. It is contended that the maximum punishment prescribed for the offences alleged is imprisonment up to ten years, which is the relevant factor to be considered, rather than the antecedents of the accused. The need for circumspection while considering an application for cancellation of bail was highlighted. According to the learned Senior Counsel, no circumstance warranting cancellation of bail is set out in the forthcoming from the arguments.
The court observed the case of Puran v. Rambilas, where it was clarified that grant of bail in a heinous crime ignoring the materials and evidence would be one of the additional grounds on which cancellation of bail could be sought since such an order would be against the principles of law. The legal position emerging from the precedents is that, while considering a bail application, courts should weigh all relevant factors and should keep in mind the societal concern also. The absence of such consideration would enable the cancellation of bail by the higher court, in the exercise of power under Section 439 (2) of Cr.P.C. Court also observed the case of Budhpal v.State of U.P., 2014 and Ash Mohammad v. Shiv Raj Singh, [(2012) 9 SCC 446].
The learned Magistrate omitted to consider the fact that further investigation regarding the involvement of other accused was underway. The fact that the Sessions Court, as well as this Court, had rejected the bail applications submitted was also not considered. The failure on the part of the learned Magistrate to consider these relevant factors has rendered the order indefensible. Even though an order granting bail would not, under normal circumstances, be interfered with by the superior courts, there is no legal embargo against such intervention.
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