J&K HC | Parity cannot be the sole ground for granting bail, however, desirability of consistency may; Court allows bail application

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: Javed Iqbal Wani, J., while allowing the instant bail application, made significant observations pertaining with conditions to bail.

Brief Facts

The applicant as submitted in his application affirms that, he was falsely implicated in the said FIR and arrested in the month of June, 2019. Subsequently, he moved a bail application before the trial court that remained pending due to the outbreak of pandemic and no hearing was called. Later, he moved a second bail application which was dismissed on 02-06-2020 without affording him an opportunity of hearing through virtual mode. It is further stated that the trial court declined the bail application without considering the material produced before it and in the process passed a perverse order, committing grave illegality. Furthermore, it is an undisputed fact that the applicant has been under detention for over 14 months without even a fair occasion of hearing.

Contentions

It was the argument for the counsel of applicant that, (1) he has been falsely implicated without cogent reasons, (2) no fair hearing has been given until the present date, (3) plea of parity be considered as a co-accused in the same matter has been bailed out by this Court, (4) entitlement to bail under the guidelines issued by a High Power Committee constituted pursuant to the directions by the Supreme Court.

The Prosecution insisted on rejection of the bail application citing, (1) commission of serious, grave and reprehensible nature of offences, (2) voluntary and intentional hatching of criminal conspiracy.

Observation

The Court made the following observation in light of the facts and circumstances of the present case; “While considering an application for bail, it is well settled by the catena of judgments of the Apex Court that court must not go deep into merits of the matter while considering an application for bail. All that needs to be established from the record is the existence of prima facie case against the accused. Since charge sheet has been filed in the trial court, the presence of the applicant would be required only during the trial which in view of the present situations may consume a long time and as such the applicant cannot be held in custody for so long.” Since the application is also made citing parity as a co-accused is the same matter was granted bail by this Court, it was remarked, Parity cannot be the sole ground for granting bail yet if on examination of a given case it transpires that the case of applicant before the Court is identically similar to the accused on facts and circumstances who has been bailed out, then the desirability of consistency will require that such an accused should also be released on bail.”

Decision

While allowing the bail application, the Court enlisted five conditions illustratively, (1) To furnish a personal bond to the tune of Rs 1 lac, (2) To surrender and deposit passport, (3) Not to leave the territorial jurisdiction of the present Court without permission, (4) Not to influence the prosecution witness, directly or indirectly, (5) To face the trial without any fail.[Bharat Bhushan v. UT of J&K,  2020 SCC OnLine J&K 496, decided on 11-09-2020]

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