Court Cannot Appreciate Evidence Collected by the Prosecution While Hearing a Bail Application: J&K High Court

Jammu and Kashmir High Court Jammu Wing
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  • Post published:March 19, 2021
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The Single Bench of the High Court, comprised of Justice Puneet Gupta while hearing a bail application of an undertrial, allegedly accused of commission of offence under Sections 302, 380, 454 IPC, observed that the court cannot appreciate the evidence that has been collected by the prosecution against the accused while deciding the bail application.

Mr. K. S Johal appearing for the applicant argued that the applicant has been implicated in a false case which is based on circumstantial evidence only. He further argued that the material collected by the prosecution does not connect the accused with the commission of offence.

He also urged that the Challan is pending for more than eight months before the trial court as the trial could not commence due to COVID-19 and the applicant should be bailed out.

On the other hand, Mr. Aseem Sawhney, Additional Advocate General, appearing on behalf of the respondents opposed the bail application on the ground that the arguments advanced on behalf of the accused cannot be considered and commented upon in the bail matter as the same is a matter of trial. He further argued that Court cannot thrash the evidence collected during the course of the investigation as it is for the trial to appreciate the same. He also argued that the applicant is involved in a heinous act and cannot claim bail as a matter of right.

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Observations of the Court:
The Court said that it has been called upon to assess and appreciate the different angels of the prosecution case set up against the accused as is evident from the arguments that have been raised on behalf of the accused.

The Court importantly said, “that the court cannot appreciate the evidence that has been collected by the prosecution against the accused while deciding the bail application.

The Court observed that:

“After going through the Challan, it cannot be said that that the present case is of no evidence against the accused only for the reason that there is no eye witness of the occurrence as per the challan nor can it be finally said that the circumstantial evidence through which the prosecution intends to prove its case against the accused can have no bearing whatsoever on the culpability of the accused.” The Court is not to anticipate evidence that is to come on record on behalf of the prosecution, the Bench said.

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The Court concluded that the gravity of the offence, evidence gathered by the police agency, and the stage of the case do not entitle the applicant to bail.

The Court while dismissing the bail application held that the extraordinary situation happening due to pandemic cannot be a ground to grant bail to the accused in a case that is otherwise at its initial stage.