MANISHA VS STATE OF RAJASTHAN AND ANR.

MANISHA VS STATE OF RAJASTHAN AND ANR. - Supreme Court Case


Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले


IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 649  of 2022
(ARISING OUT OF SLP (CRL.) No. 7893 of 2021)
MANISHA                          … APPELLANT
VERSUS
STATE OF RAJASTHAN AND ANR.           … RESPONDENTS
     J UDGM EN T
N.V. RAMANA, CJI.
1. Leave granted
2. The present appeal has been filed against the final judgment
and   order   dated   20.09.2021   passed   in   S.B.   Criminal
Miscellaneous Bail Application No. 14458 of 2021 by the High
Court of Rajasthan, at Jaipur, whereby the High Court granted
regular bail to respondent no. 2 ­ accused. 
3. The counsel for the appellant­prosecutrix submits that the
High   Court   erred   in   granting   bail   to   the   respondent   no.   2   ­
accused in a mechanical manner without any reasoning. Learned
counsel submits that the High Court did not consider the facts of
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REPORTABLE
the case before it, more particularly, the gravity of the offences
alleged   to   have   been   committed   by   the   respondent   no.   2   ­
accused. Additionally, the High Court did not consider that the
respondent no. 2 – accused is a hardened criminal with nearly
twenty   criminal   cases   pending   against   him.   Under   such
circumstances, this Court should exercise its jurisdiction under
Article 136 of the Constitution and set aside the bail granted to
respondent no. 2 ­ accused.
4. Learned Counsel for respondent no. 1­ State supported the
submissions of the appellant and submitted that the impugned
order is a cryptic one which is liable to be set aside. He submitted
that there is a strong prima facie case against the respondent no.
2   ­   accused   who   committed   the   heinous   offence   of   rape   and
sexual assault upon his minor niece for nearly three to four years.
Further, respondent no. 2 ­ accused is an infamous criminal who
has   twenty   criminal   cases   registered   against   him,   in   some   of
which he has already been convicted. The list of cases registered
against him include cases relating to murder, attempt to murder,
kidnapping, dacoity,  etc. Therefore, the order of the High Court
granting bail to respondent no. 2 ­ accused should be set aside.
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5. Per contra, learned counsel for respondent no. 2 submits
that the High Court passed the impugned order granting bail after
hearing the respondent no. 2 ­ accused and the State. No new
materials have been placed on record before this Court, requiring
this Court to interfere with the impugned order. Further, it is a
settled position of law that an appellate Court must be slow to
interfere in an order granting bail to the accused. 
6. Heard the learned counsel for the parties. 
7. Before adverting to the submissions made by the parties
relating to the grant of bail, it is necessary to provide a brief
conspectus of the allegations made against respondent no. 2 –
accused. As per the chargesheet dated 29.06.2021 filed in the
present case, it is stated that the appellant­prosecutrix registered
an FIR on 30.05.2021 wherein it was stated that on the 16­
17.05.2021 the respondent no. 2 – accused, her uncle, had come
to her house. At around mid­night to 1 am the respondent no. 2 –
accused had called her to his room and forcibly raped her on two
occasions. Although, initially, she did not narrate this to anyone
because she was scared, some of her relatives noticed her strange
behaviour. When they asked her why she was sad, she narrated
the entire incident to her family. Even before this incident, the
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respondent no. 2 – accused had misbehaved with her. In 2014, he
touched her inappropriately. In 2015, he had attempted to rape
her. He used to try to chat with her and used obscene language,
and   attempted   to   establish   physical   relationship   with   her   on
various occasions. She had never disclosed these incidents to
anyone as he threatened her. It is in the background of these
allegations that the appropriateness of the impugned order passed
by the High Court granting bail to respondent no. 2 – accused
must be considered. 
8. This   Court   has,   in   a   catena   of   judgments,   outlined   the
considerations on the basis of which discretion under Section
439, CrPC has to be exercised while granting bail. In Gurcharan
Singh v. State (Delhi Administration),  (1978) 1 SCC 118  this
Court   has   held   as   to   the   various   parameters   which   must   be
considered while granting bail. This Court held as follows:
“24. …Even so, the High Court or the Court of
Session   will   have   to   exercise   its   judicial
discretion   in   considering   the   question   of
granting of bail under Section 439(1) CrPC of
the new Code. The overriding considerations in
granting bail to which we adverted to earlier and
which are common both in the case of Section
437(1) and Section 439(1) CrPC of the new Code
are the nature and gravity of the circumstances
in which the offence is committed; the position
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and the status of the accused with reference to
the victim and the witnesses; the likelihood, of
the accused fleeing from justice; of repeating the
offence; of jeopardising his own life being faced
with a grim prospect of possible conviction in
the   case;   of   tampering   with   witnesses;   the
history of the case as well as of its investigation
and other relevant grounds which, in view of so
many valuable factors, cannot be exhaustively
set out.”
9. The above factors do not constitute an exhaustive list. The
grant of bail requires the consideration of various factors which
ultimately depends upon the specific facts and circumstances of
the case before the Court. There is no strait jacket formula which
can ever be prescribed as to what the relevant factors could be.
However, certain important factors that are always considered,
inter­alia, relate to prima facie involvement of the accused, nature
and gravity of the charge, severity of the punishment, and the
character, position and standing of the accused [see State of U.P.
v. Amarmani Tripathi, (2005) 8 SCC 21].
10. At the stage of granting bail the Court is not required to
enter into a detailed analysis of the evidence in the case.  Such an
exercise may be undertaken at the stage of trial. 
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11. Once bail has been granted, the Appellate Court is usually
slow to interfere with the same as it pertains to the liberty of an
individual. A Constitution Bench of this Court in  Bihar  Legal
Support Society v. Chief Justice of India, (1986) 4 SCC 767
observed as follows:
“3. … It is for this reason that the Apex Court
has   evolved,   as   a   matter   of   self­discipline,
certain norms to guide it in the exercise of its
discretion in cases where special leave petition
are filed against orders granting or refusing bail
or anticipatory bail.…We  reiterate  this  policy
principle   laid   down   by   the   bench   of   this
Court   and   hold   that   this   Court   should   not
ordinarily,   save   in   exceptional   cases,
interfere with orders granting or refusing bail
or   anticipatory   bail,   because   these   are
matters   in   which   the   High   Court   should
normally be the final arbiter.”
(emphasis supplied)
12.  The above principle has been consistently followed by this
Court. In Prasanta Kumar Sarkar v. Ashis Chatterjee,  (2010)
14 SCC 496 this Court held as under:
“9.  We are of the opinion that the impugned
order is clearly unsustainable. It is trite that
this Court does not, normally, interfere with an
order   passed   by   the   High   Court   granting   or
rejecting   bail   to   the   accused.   However,   it   is
equally   incumbent   upon   the   High   Court   to
exercise   its   discretion   judiciously,   cautiously
and   strictly   in   compliance   with   the   basic
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principles laid down in a plethora of decisions of
this Court on the point. It is well settled that,
among other circumstances, the factors to be
borne in mind while considering an application
for bail are:
(i)  whether   there   is   any   prima   facie   or
reasonable   ground   to   believe   that   the
accused had committed the offence;
(ii) nature and gravity of the accusation;
(iii) severity of the punishment in the event of
conviction;
(iv)   danger   of   the   accused   absconding   or
fleeing, if released on bail;
(v) character, behaviour, means, position and
standing of the accused;
(vi) likelihood of the offence being repeated;
(vii) reasonable apprehension of the witnesses
being influenced; and
(viii)   danger,   of   course,   of   justice   being
thwarted by grant of bail.
   xxx xxx xxx
10. It is manifest that if the High Court does not
advert   to   these   relevant   considerations   and
mechanically grants bail, the said order would
suffer from the vice of non­application of mind,
rendering it to be illegal…..” 
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13. In  Mahipal   v.   Rajesh   Kumar,   (2020)   2   SCC   118  this
Court followed the holding in  Prasanta Kumar  Sarkar  (supra)
and held as follows:
“17. Where a court considering an application
for   bail   fails   to   consider   relevant   factors,   an
appellate   court   may   justifiably   set   aside   the
order granting bail. An appellate court is thus
required to consider whether the order granting
bail suffers from a non­application of mind or is
not borne out from a prima facie view of the
evidence on record. It is thus necessary for this
Court to assess whether, on the basis of the
evidentiary record, there existed a prima facie or
reasonable ground to believe that the accused
had   committed   the   crime,   also   taking   into
account the seriousness of the crime and the
severity of the punishment…”
14. Recently, a three Judges’ Bench of this Court in  Jagjeet
Singh  &  Ors.  V.  Ashish  Mishra  @  Monu  &  Anr. in  Criminal
Appeal No. 632 of 2022, has reiterated the factors that the Court
must consider at the time of granting bail under Section 439
CrPC, as well as highlighted the circumstances where this Court
may   interfere   when   bail   has   been   granted   in   violation   of   the
requirements   under   the   above­mentioned   section.   This   Court
observed as follows:
“28. We may, at the outset, clarify that power to
grant bail under Section 439 of CrPC, is one of
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wide amplitude.   A High Court or a Sessions
Court, as the case may be, are bestowed with
considerable   discretion   while   deciding   an
application for bail.   But, as has been held by
this Court on multiple occasions, this discretion
is not unfettered.   On the contrary, the High
Court   of   the   Sessions   Court   must   grant   bail
after the application of a judicial mind, following
well­established principles, and not in a cryptic
or mechanical manner.”
15. It is worth noting that what is being considered in this case
relates to whether the High Court has exercised the discretionary
power under Section 439 CrPC in granting bail appropriately.
Such   an   assessment   is   different   from   deciding   whether
circumstances   subsequent   to   the   grant   of   bail   have   made   it
necessary to cancel the same. The first situation requires the
Court   to   analyze   whether   the   order   granting   bail   was   illegal,
perverse,   unjustified   or   arbitrary.   On   the   other   hand,   an
application for cancellation of bail looks at whether supervening
circumstances have occurred warranting cancellation. In  Neeru
Yadav v. State of U.P., (2014) 16 SCC 508 this Court held as
follows:
“12. We have referred to certain principles to be
kept in mind while granting bail, as has been
laid down by this Court from time to time. It is
well settled in law that cancellation of bail after
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it   is   granted   because   the   accused   has
misconducted himself or of some supervening
circumstances   warranting   such   cancellation
have   occurred   is   in   a   different   compartment
altogether than an order granting bail which is
unjustified, illegal and perverse. If in a case, the
relevant factors which should have been taken
into   consideration   while   dealing   with   the
application for bail have not been taken note of,
or bail is founded on irrelevant considerations,
indisputably the superior court can set aside
the order of such a grant of bail. Such a case
belongs   to   a   different   category   and   is   in   a
separate   realm.  While   dealing   with   a   case   of
second nature, the court does not dwell upon
the violation of conditions by the accused or the
supervening circumstances that have happened
subsequently. It, on the contrary, delves into
the justifiability and the soundness of the order
passed by the court.”
16. In the present case, it is necessary to determine whether the
High Court while granting bail to the respondent no. 2 ­ accused
has properly exercised its discretion under Section 439 CrPC by
following various parameters laid down by this Court. A bare
perusal of the impugned order passed by the High Court does not
suggest that the Court has considered any of the relevant factors
for grant of bail. It would be fruitful to extract the impugned order
at this juncture:
“1.  The present bail application has been filed
under Section 439 Cr.P.C. The petitioner has
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been   arrested   in   connection   with   FIR   No.
319/2021 Registered at Police Station Udhyog
Nagar,   District   Sikar   for   the   offence(s)   under
Sections   354,   354B,   354D,   376(2)F,   376(2)N,
450, 506, 509 IPC and Sections 9N/10, 5L/6,
5(N)/6 and 18 of POCSO Act.
2.  Learned counsel for the petitioner submits
that the petitioner has been falsely implicated in
this   case.   He   is   behind   the   bars   since
30.05.2021. Charge­sheet has been filed against
the petitioner. Learned counsel for the petitioner
further submits that during trial, statement of
the   prosecutrix   was   recorded   by   the   learned
trial Court. Learned counsel for the petitioner
also   submits   that   the   prosecutrix   has   made
improvement   in  her   statement.   Conclusion  of
trial may take long time.
3.  Learned   counsel   for   the   complainant   has
opposed the bail application and submitted that
the petitioner is a habitual offender and he has
been booked in PASA.
4.  Learned Public Prosecutor has opposed the
bail application.
5. Considering the contentions put­forth by the
counsel   for   the   petitioner   and   taking   into
account the facts and circumstances of the case
and   without   expressing   any   opinion   on   the
merits of the case, this court deems it just and
proper to enlarge the petitioner on bail. 
6.  Accordingly,   the   bail   application   under
Section 439 Cr.P.C. is allowed and it is ordered
that   the   accused­petitioner   Omprakash   @
Jeevanram @ Oma Thehat S/o Boduram shall
be   enlarged
on bail provided he furnishes a personal bond in
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the   sum   of   Rs.50,000/­   with   two   sureties   of
Rs.25,000/­   each   to   the   satisfaction   of   the
learned trial Judge for his appearance before
the court concerned on all the dates of hearing
as and when called upon to do so.” 
17. Apart   from   the   general   observation   that   the   facts   and
circumstances of the case have been taken into account, nowhere
have the actual facts of the case been adverted to. There appears
to be no reference to the factors that ultimately led the High Court
to grant bail. In fact, no reasoning is apparent from the impugned
order. 
18. Reasoning is the life blood of the judicial system.  That every
order must be reasoned is one of the fundamental tenets of our
system. An unreasoned order suffers the vice of arbitrariness. In
Puran v. Rambilas, (2001) 6 SCC 338 this Court held as under:
“8. …Giving reasons is different from discussing
merits or demerits. At the stage of granting bail
a   detailed   examination   of   evidence   and
elaborate   documentation   of   the   merits   of   the
case   has   not   to   be   undertaken.   What   the
Additional Sessions Judge had done in the order
dated 11­9­2000 was to discuss the merits and
demerits of the evidence. That was what was
deprecated.  That   did   not   mean   that   whilst
granting   bail   some   reasons   for   prima   facie
concluding   why   bail   was   being   granted   did
not have to be indicated.”
(emphasis supplied)
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19. In  Kalyan Chandra Sarkar  v. Rajesh Ranjan,  (2004)  7
SCC 528 this Court indicated the importance of reasoning in the
matter concerning bail and held as follows:
“11. The law in regard to grant or refusal of bail
is   very   well   settled.   The   court   granting   bail
should   exercise   its   discretion   in   a   judicious
manner and not as a matter of course. Though
at   the   stage   of   granting   bail   a   detailed
examination   of   evidence   and   elaborate
documentation of the merit of the case need not
be undertaken, there is a need to indicate in
such   orders   reasons   for   prima   facie
concluding   why   bail   was   being   granted
particularly where the accused is charged of
having   committed   a   serious   offence.   Any
order   devoid   of   such   reasons   would   suffer
from non­application of mind…”
(emphasis supplied)
20. In  Brij  Nandan  Jaiswal   v.  Munna,   (2009)  1  SCC  678,
which concerned a challenge to grant of bail in a serious offence,
this Court has reiterated the same position as was observed in
Kalyan Chandra Sarkar (supra). This Court has held as under:
“12… However, we find from the order that no
reasons were given by the learned Judge while
granting   the   bail   and   it   seems   to   have   been
granted   almost   mechanically   without
considering the pros and cons of the matter.
While   granting   bail,   particularly   in   serious
cases   like   murder   some   reasons   justifying
the grant are necessary.”
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(emphasis supplied)
21. From the above, it is clear that this Court has consistently
upheld   the   necessity   of   reasoned   bail   orders,   with   a   special
emphasis on matters involving serious offences. In the present
case, respondent no. 2 ­ accused has been accused of committing
the grievous offence of rape against his young niece of nineteen
years.  The fact that the respondent no. 2 ­ accused is a habitual
offender and nearly twenty cases registered against him has not
even found mentioned in the impugned order. Further the High
Court has failed to consider the influence that the respondent no.
2 ­ accused may have over the prosecutrix as an elder family
member. The period of imprisonment, being only three months, is
not of such a magnitude as to push the Court towards granting
bail in an offence of this nature. 
22. The impugned order passed by the High Court is cryptic,
and does not suggest any application of mind. There is a recent
trend of passing such orders granting or refusing to grant bail,
where the Courts make a general observation that “the facts and
the circumstances” have been considered. No specific reasons are
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indicated   which   precipitated   the   passing   of   the   order   by   the
Court. 
23. Such a situation continues despite various judgments of
this Court wherein this Court has disapproved of such a practice.
In the case of Mahipal (supra) this Court observed as follows: 
“25.  Merely   recording   “having   perused   the
record” and “on the facts and circumstances
of the case” does not subserve the purpose of
a reasoned judicial order. It is a fundamental
premise of open justice, to which our judicial
system is committed, that factors which have
weighed   in   the   mind   of   the   Judge   in   the
rejection or the grant of bail are recorded in the
order passed. Open justice is premised on the
notion that justice should not only be done, but
should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to
be done. The duty of Judges to give reasoned
decisions lies at the heart of this commitment.
Questions   of   the   grant   of   bail   concern   both
liberty   of   individuals   undergoing   criminal
prosecution   as   well   as   the   interests   of   the
criminal justice system in ensuring that those
who   commit   crimes   are   not   afforded   the
opportunity   to   obstruct   justice.  Judges   are
duty­bound   to   explain   the   basis   on   which
they have arrived at a conclusion.”
(emphasis supplied)
24. In view of the above, the impugned order passed by the High
Court is set aside. The Criminal Appeal is accordingly allowed.
Bail   bonds   stand   cancelled.   Respondent   no.   2   ­   accused   is
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directed to surrender within one week from the receipt of this
order, failing which, the concerned police authorities shall take
him into custody.
.............................CJI.
       (N.V. RAMANA)
...............................J.
                                                         (KRISHNA MURARI)
NEW DELHI;
APRIL 19, 2022
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