Crime victim can question bail to accused: apex court

December 22nd, 2008 - 7:37 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS) The bail of an accused facing trial for a heinous criminal offence can be revoked not only for its misuse by the accused but also if the victim of the crime files a suit raising valid objections, the Supreme Court has ruled.A bench of Justice Tarun Chatterjee and Justice V.S. Sirpurkar gave this significant ruling with a new interpretation of the law on grant of bail Friday, while cancelling the bail of a murder accused. The ruling was released Monday.

“It is now a settled law that a complainant can always question the order granting bail if the said order is not validly passed. It is not as if once a bail is granted by any court, the only way to get it cancelled is on account of its misuse,” said the bench while cancelling the bail of Munna Jaiswal, facing trial in a murder case.

“In our opinion, the complainant can always question the merits of the order granting bail,” said the bench.

While cancelling the bail, the apex court also lamented that the high court had granted bail to the accused “mechanically”. The bench did not name the high court.

“We find from the order of the high court that no reasons were given by the learned judge while granting the bail and it seems to have granted it almost mechanically without considering the pros and cons of the matter,” the bench said.

It added that “while granting bail, particularly in serious cases like murder, some reasons justifying the grant are necessary”.

The bail of Munna, who was allegedly involved in the murder of his relative’s son in December 2006, was cancelled on a suit objecting to it by the victim’s father Brij Nandan Jaiswal.

The lower court had rejected Munna’s bail plea pointing out his criminal antecedents, but the high court later granted him bail.

Legal experts have termed the verdict as trend-setting, pointing out that courts generally have a discretionary power to grant bail to an accused.

While granting bail, the courts have to ensure that there is no scope or fear of the accused misusing the bail to hamper the probe, tamper with evidence or influence witnesses in the case.

The lawyers point out that in case of an accused interfering with the investigation or threatening witnesses, earlier only the prosecution agency or the police used to move court for cancellation of the bail.

But of late, courts have begun entertaining the objections of victims too against the bail, the lawyers said, pointing out a recent example in which the Supreme Court had cancelled the bail to real estate tycoons Ansal brothers on a complaint by the Association of the Victims of the Uphaar Tragedy.

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