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Every man is innocent until duly tried and found guilty! It would be inappropriate to refuse bail simply to give him a taste of imprisonment as a lesson.

Every man is innocent until duly tried and found guilty! It would be inappropriate to refuse bail simply to give him a taste of imprisonment as a lesson.

Sanjay Chandra Vs CBI

Supreme Court


(2012) 1 SCC 40

About/from the judgment:

Ss. 437 and 439 - Bail - Conditional bail to balance competing considerations - Relevant considerations in granting such conditional bail - Gravity of alleged offence - Severity of punishment prescribed in law - Both parameters, held, ought to be taken into consideration simultaneously - Gravity alone cannot be decisive ground to deny bail - Competing factors to be balanced by court while exercising its discretion - Protection of personal liberty against securing attendance of accused at trial - Presumed innocence till a person is convicted - Hardship caused to individual on account of detention before conviction - Unnecessary burden on State to keep a person who is yet to be proved guilty - Constitutionally protected liberty, held, must be respected unless detention becomes a necessity - Bail is the rule and jail an exception - Each case however to be decided on its own merits - Apprehended tampering of evidence - Denial of bail on this count - Held, to be resorted to in most extraordinary circumstances only - Lengthy trial which may prolong beyond maximum sentence awardable under relevant law - Relevance of - 2G Spectrum Scam case - Charge-sheet already filed - Telecom licences under Unified Access Services (UAS) policy and radio spectrum alleged to have been obtained by indulging in cheating and forgery - Eligibility criteria manipulated - Public exchequer alleged to have suffered huge loss - Appellants charged for various economic offences under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and IPC - Seventeen persons booked for scam - Statement of witnesses running into several hundred pages - Other documentary evidence also too voluminous - Trial in these circumstances likely to take considerable time - Longest sentence that can be imposed is seven years' imprisonment under 1988 Act - No serious apprehension raised before Supreme Court that accused persons, if released on bail, would interfere with trial or tamper evidence - Balanced approach, held, is to grant bail subject to certain conditions, rather than to keep individuals under detention for an indefinite period - Liberty also given to CBI to seek cancellation/modification of bail if appellants violate conditions imposed on them - Trial court and High Court, further held, erred in denying bail solely by taking into account seriousness of offences, deep-rooted conspiracy involved and loss of public money, overlooking other relevant aspects, (2012) 1 SCC 40-A

Ss. 437 and 439 - Prejudices which may be avoided in deciding bail matters - Public scams, scandals and heinous offences - Public sentiments and disapproval of alleged misconduct - Bail, held, ought not be denied to teach lesson to a person whose offence is yet to be proved - Conditional bail, as a solution, (2012) 1 SCC 40-B

Ss. 437 and 439 - Bail - Relevant considerations depending on stage at which bail application is made - Pre-charge and post-charge stages - SLP already dismissed in a connected case where bail was refused before framing of charges - Appellants who were co-accused, seeking bail after framing of charges - Held, their cases stood on different footing - Earlier case was not an impediment in granting bail to appellants, (2012) 1 SCC 40-C

Read the Judgment


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