Mere involvement in other cases cannot be sole basis for denying bail: Punjab & Haryana HC

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The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday held that mere involvement of an accused in other cases cannot be the sole basis to deny bail to a person and keep him confined in perpetuity [Vipul v State of Haryana].

Justice Vinod S Bhardwaj said that antecedents of an accused may be one of the relevant considerations while adjudicating a bail petition, but it cannot be the sole criterion.

“The case for bail has to be considered on its own merits . Even though the antecedents of an accused may be one among the relevant considerations while adjudicating a petition on merits for grant of bail, however, a mere involvement of the petitioner in other cases cannot be the sole basis to keep him confined in perpetuity,” the Court said.

The power to adjudicate upon the liberties of an individual while considering his or her claim for bail, cannot be deployed as a means of inflicting sentence on an accused, the single-judge added.

The petitioner in the present case was accused of attempt to murder, wrongful confinement, dacoity and criminal conspiracy along with offences under the Arms Act.

The plea was moved claiming that the petitioner was not named in the First Information Report (FIR), and there was no attribution to the petitioner of having played an active or passive role in the offence.

Further, it was stated that his name only figured in the disclosure made by the co-accused.

Additionally, the petitioner pointed out that the investigation was complete, he had been in custody for nearly seven months and that the trial was yet to commence.

The State counsel, however, opposed bail on the grounds that the petitioner had criminal antecedents and was involved in two other cases.

To this submission, the Court responded stating that involvement in other cases would not be a sole consideration.

Justice Bhardwaj said that the role attributed to an accused and evidence collected during the investigation would invariably remain the prime consideration while considering an application of bail, along with stage of the prosecution case and the period of custody.

With these observations, the Court stated that it was appropriate to release the petitioner on bail.

Advocates Arav Gupta and Priya Aggarwal appeared for the petitioner while the respondents were represented by Additional Advocate General Gaurav Bansal.

Read Order here:

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