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Bail On Grounds Of Parity To Co-Accused In Murder Case By Karnataka High Court

Bail Granted to Accused No.6 in Mahadevapura Murder Case on Parity Grounds

Ajith @ Appu Vs The State Of Karnataka And Another
Bench- The Hon'ble Mr Justice Shivashankar Amarannavar
Criminal Appeal No. 625 Of 2024

Principal Bench At Bengaluru,12th June 2024
In a significant development, the High Court of Karnataka granted bail to accused No.6 in the Mahadevapura murder case, setting aside the previous order of the LXX Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge and Special Judge, Bengaluru, which had rejected the bail petition. The case, registered under Crime No.208/2023 at Mahadevapura Police Station, involves severe charges including Sections 302, 201, and 120-B read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), as well as Sections 3(1)(r), 3(1)(s), and 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (SC/ST Act).

The prosecution's case states that on May 25, 2023, at approximately 9:00 PM, the complainant and his friend, the deceased Sri Renukumar, were attacked near Aviva Gym by Sri Kishore, Sri Prashanth @ Chotu, and two other associates. The attackers assaulted the deceased with long choppers, causing severe injuries that led to his death despite being rushed to the hospital. Following an investigation, a charge sheet was filed under the aforementioned sections of IPC and the SC/ST Act.

Accused No.6 was implicated in the charge sheet primarily for allegedly conspiring with the other accused to murder Sri Renukumar. He was arrested on June 1, 2023, and has since been in judicial custody. The accusation against him revolves around the conspiracy rather than his physical presence at the crime scene or direct involvement in the assault.

The defence counsel argued that the sole allegation against Accused No.6 is conspiracy, without evidence of his presence at the crime scene. It was highlighted that Accused Nos.7 and 8, who faced similar conspiracy charges, had already been granted bail by the Court. The defence urged for bail on grounds of parity, noting that Accused No.6's situation was analogous to that of the other accused who had been released.
The High Court Government Pleader emphasized the gravity of the charges, which are punishable by death or life imprisonment. Concerns were raised about potential tampering with prosecution witnesses if Accused No.6 were granted bail. Counsel for the complainant argued that Accused No.6 had facilitated the crime by blocking the way, aiding the primary assailants.

After reviewing the arguments and charge sheet materials, the Court found that Accused No.6 was not present at the crime scene during the incident. The principal allegations of physical assault were against Accused Nos.1 to 3. Given that Accused Nos.7 and 8, charged similarly with conspiracy, had been granted bail, the Court determined that Accused No.6 was entitled to bail on grounds of parity.
The Court allowed the appeal and set aside the order dated November 27, 2023.

Accused No.6 was ordered to be released on bail under the following conditions:
  • Execution of a personal bond for Rs. 1,00,000 with one surety of the same amount to the satisfaction of the jurisdictional Court.
  • Prohibition against threatening the complainant or tampering with prosecution witnesses.
  • Requirement to cooperate with further investigation by the Investigating Officer.
  • Mandatory appearance before the Trial Court on all hearing dates unless exempted, ensuring cooperation for the speedy trial.
  • Prohibition against committing any offence during the pendency of the case.

Written By: Abhimanyu Singh, Dharmashastra National Law University Jabalpur

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