For the Umpteenth Time, Bail, Not Jail Must be the Norm!

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Supreme Court
  • The subject matter has been under discussion, hitting constant headlines for such a long time now that it appears a tad mundane whenever the matter of bail comes to the fore. No less than the Supreme Court of India has ruled several times that bail, not jail should be the norm for the various courts while hearing any case. We are aware of how several lakhs of undertrials are languishing in jails perpetually waiting to be heard. Little wonder that crores of cases are lined up at different levels of judiciary clogging the justice delivery system no end. Unfortunately, despite cries for reforms in the justice delivery system, common citizens undergo tremendous challenges while seeking relief/ruling singes the courts.

Bail

PC: iPleaders

  • The higher judiciary earnestly attempts to correct this anomaly, but the efforts of justice delivery from the lower courts are far from being satisfactory on the matter. Law enforcement agencies are consistently failing to adhere to the higher judiciary’s call to exercise prudence while raising a chargesheet must be bothering all concerned. Some of the undertrials waiting to be heard for years on is a travesty of justice. Did someone say justice delayed is justice denied? Indeed, but what’s the use of uttering the same old statement when no palpable action ensues on the ground? Not a single day passes in the country without the denial of bail hitting the headlines. Even the high-profile cases also raise a question mark on granting bail, you see.
  • The country is aware that the excise policy case surrounding the AAP leaders including the Delhi CM is being played out of late. Thus, twists in Kejriwal’s case raise an urgent reminder that the question of bail must not get entangled in procedural knots. SC recently considered unusual Delhi High Court’s decision to reserve its order on ED’s appeal against Kejriwal’s bail. One had to wonder what the top court would have had to say about the timing of Kejriwal’s arrest by CBI in the same excise policy case, albeit a separate strand. The arrest came just as SC was to hear his appeal against HC’s stay on his bail in the ED case. Ideally, CBI and ED should not work at cross purposes. But what happened last week doesn’t appear to be an example of investigative efficiency.

SAtyender

PC: The Indian Express

  • SC also rebuked Delhi HC over adjourning a bail plea. It made its comments while refusing to consider ex-Delhi minister and AAP functionary Satyendar Jain’s appeal against HC’s adjournment of his bail hearing. SC reiterated for the nth time that bail matters are not to be unnecessarily adjourned. The trial court that granted Kejriwal bail had taken the cue from SC’s frequently repeated emphasis on bail. We know Kejriwal has been in and out of various courts, from trial to SC, for bail and in his challenge to the legality of ED’s arrest. The latter is currently in SC. It is pertinent to remember the far-reaching impacts of a CM behind bars – political, electoral, and governance. This is not an irrelevant factor in bail pleas. The courts should consider this.