The Supreme Court made a remark, “a court cannot refuse to hear a bail application on merits on the ground that the accused had failed to comply with the settlement offer made earlier.”
This was observed by the Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao. The court dismissed the order passed by the Madras High Court which set aside a bail application on the ground that the accused had gone back on the promise to settle.
The case of G Selvakumar vs State of Tamil Nadu emerged out of an FIR registered over allegations of criminal breach of trust, cheating etc. The accused had pursued for an interim bail by stating that he will settle the disputes relating to the payment of money once he is released. Based on this, the Court granted him interim bail.
The accused later told the court that he was facing difficulties to pay the money due to certain domestic circumstances. The High Court did not appreciate this response of the accused and dismissed his bail application.
Challenging this High Court order, the accused filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme court. Advocates for the petitioner side were Senior Advocate R Basant along with Advocates A Karthik and Sarath S Janardanan.
The SC observed that the HC should have considered the bail application on merits and should not have set it aside on the ground that he did not fulfil his promise. “In any event, the High Court ought to have heard the bail application on merits and ought not to have dismissed the same on the ground that the petitioner has gone back of the promise made to the High Court on 18.02.2020”, the SC observed.
The bench, also including Justice Ajay Rastogi, observed, that it was not planning to send the matter back to the HC for fresh consideration and ordered that the accused should be released on bail, subject to the satisfaction of the trial court.