Courts must release accused on bail but on reasonable grounds: SC

ISLAMABAD  -  The Supreme Court of Pakistan said Friday that for seeking the concession of bail the accused person has to show that the evidence collected against him during the investigation gives rise to clear-head­ed suspicions regarding his involvement.

It was stated in a judgement authored by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar while decid­ing bail applications. He added that it is the elementary duty of the courts to apply a judi­cious mind tentatively to reach a just and proper conclusion on whether reasonable grounds are made out to enlarge the accused on bail. It main­tained that the axiom ‘reasonable grounds’ connotes and associates those grounds that are legally acceptable and based on reasons that attract the judicial mind, as opposed to being imaginative, fallacious and/or presumptuous. The judgment noted that in the in­stant matter, the possibility of mala fide intention in lodging the FIR cannot be ruled out, and, at this stage, there are no reasonable grounds for believ­ing that the accused are involved; rather, there are sufficient grounds for further inquiry to prove the guilt of the accused persons.

According to the prosecution case, the victim, Iqra Bibi, was abducted. However, according to the pe­titioners [Salman Mushtaq (husband) and Ahmar Ali (brother)], Iqra Bibi, being sui juris, contracted a marriage with the accused Salman Mushtaq of her own free will and volition, and the marriage was duly registered. Ahmar Ali, who applied for post-ar­rest bail, is the real brother of the abductee. Salman Mushtaq has filed a suit for restitution of conjugal rights before the Family Court which was decreed in his favour, whereas the alleged abductee has also filed a suit for jactitation of marriage.

The apex court noted that both the lower courts rejected the bail petition without adverting to the family suits filed for the restitution of conjugal rights and the jactitation of marriage.

It said that the Additional Sessions Judge ob­served that it was unlikely that a real mother would lodge a false FIR against her own son for the ab­duction of his sister. Quite the reverse, it is also a matter of further inquiry to ascertain whether the alleged abductee’s real brother was in actuality in­volved in the abduction and whether he aided or facilitated the commission of the heinous crime of rape against his real sister. Even in the suit for jac­titation of marriage, the alleged abductee admitted that the marriage was solemnized, but under fear and threat. She also prayed to the Family Court for declaring the nikah nama dated 05.04.2023 illegal and unlawful, whereas the petitioners asserted that the alleged abductee contracted the marriage of her own free will. The SC said that another important aspect we cannot lose sight of is that, if the broth­er of the alleged abductee was involved in the ab­duction then why was he not nominated in the FIR.

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