1. In this case five persons were charged with the attempted murder of the Sub-Collector. The accused applied for bail and ultimately bail was granted, on the information then before him, by my learned brother in this Court. It was first argued that under the Code there was no power inherent in this Court to revise any such grant of bail. I have never been able to see the difficulty. Section 497(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure runs as follows:
When any person accused of any non-bailable offence is arrested or detained without warrant by an officer in charge of a police station, or appears or is brought, before a Court, he may be released on bail.
2. That is what happened here. By Sub-sectioon 5 of that section, the Court therein described 'may cause any person, who has been released under this section, to be arrested and may commit him to custody.' In the face of that, the argument that there is no power in this Court, whatever change of circumstances may be proved before it, to revise the order granting bail seems to be absolutely untenable. I hold that we have ample jurisdiction to exercise our discretion and order the re-arrest of any person out on bail, if we feel the circumstances warrant or demand such a course.
3. In this case, we are concerned with 3 men; one is the 5th accused, about whom most of the argument has been addressed to us. He is a retired Inspector of Police and he is alleged to have taken part in this very serious offence of attempted murder. The third accused is his son-in-law, also a man in an important position, which he has forfeited; he was in the position of Village Munsif. The 2nd accused is the son of the 5th and, in the absence of anything brought to our notice, we think that on the security which has been ordered, he may be allowed to be at liberty till the trial.
4. The principles which govern the granting of bail, I think are not really doubtful. The Court is not called upon to conduct a preliminary trial of the case and consider the probability of the accused's guilt or innocence. It would be entirely exceeding its function, if it did that in any detail; but it may incidentally have to look at the weight of the evidence against the accused, as a necessary part of what I conceive to be its proper function, that is, to enquire whether the giving of the bail, as opposed to the arrest of the accused, might lead to a real danger of his absconding and not appearing to take his trial, or whether there is any real reason to suppose that he is likely to tamper with the witnesses, who would be called against him. In this case, much has been said on the latter ground and it is suggested that are tired Police Inspector and a deposed Village Munsif are people who would be in a very strong position to influence witnesses and make them resile from their testimony. I do not wish to put it on that ground; I think it is safer to put it on this ground that here, are two men of importance in their own walk of life charged with a very serious offence and that it is more than possible that they may take advantage of a release on bail to abscond and fail to take their trial. It is not to be overlooked that the hardship to which they are subject, which of course is a matter which should weigh very greatly with any Court considering a question of this kind, is not a very great one, because their trial is fixed to take place not later than the 6th of January 1925. Had it been a question of waiting in jail for months pending the trial, speaking for myself, I might have come to a different conclusion; but this is a short time, and I understand that the prisoners are given every opportunity in the prisons of this country, as they are in prisons in England, of seeing legal advisers, giving them full instructions and consulting them. In any case, I should like to say, that I trust the jail authorities in this case will give these prisoners the fullest opportunity and the fullest latitude to take any legal advice they may require. On the grounds I have given, I think this is a case where good cause has been shown for not allowing these men to be on bail, for a very short time must elapse between now and their trial.
5. The order will be that they be arrested and the bail bonds with regard to the 3rd and the 5th accused, if executed, will be cancelled.
6. With regard to the 2nd accused, the order will stand and I think one may not inappropriately remark that the second accused will have ample facilities for being in constant communication with 5th accused.
Srinivasa Aiyangar, J.
7. I agree.