When The Constitutional Validity Of “Aadhaar” Is Under Challenge Before SC, Chattisgarh HC Makes It Mandatory For Accused And Sureties For Bail [Read Order]
It is the intention of the government to give fillip to Aadhaar movement and encourage the people of this country to enroll themselves under the Aadhaar scheme, the Chhattisgarh High Court has said.
Now, it will be difficult for a person without Aadhaar card to obtain bail from the courts in Chhattisgarh as the high court has directed all the trial courts to necessarily obtain copy of the Aadhaar card of the accused as well as of the surety, while examining surety papers submitted along with bail applications.
The relevant part of the directive issued by Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra reads: “While examining the surety papers, the trial court shall necessarily obtain copy of the Aadhaar card of the accused as well as of the surety.”
The court issued these directives while considering a bail application of an Advocate’s Clerk accused of fraudulent activity by standing surety by affixing his photograph in the property papers of other persons. The prosecution case was that the clerk stood surety in the trial court by impersonating one Neelkanth, a resident of village Indavani. But when the concerned court sent the papers for verification, the concerned Tahsildar submitted a report that no such person in the name of Neelkanth resides at village Indavani. Pursuant to this report, the court Mohrir lodged a report against the applicant for offence punishable under sections 420, 467, 468, 471 & 120-B of the Indian Penal Code. The high court granted bail to the accused.
Practice of submission of forged revenue documents and sureties is rampant in trial courts
During the course of hearing, the prosecutor apprised the court that in almost every court in the state, forged sureties are produced to obtain bail on the basis of forged revenue papers or by impersonating the real surety. If this menace is not controlled and regulated, it will attain enormous proportion, the public prosecutor told the court. Other lawyers present in the court joined this submission that practice of submission of forged revenue documents and sureties is rampant in trial courts.
The counsel also requested the court to pass necessary orders directing trial courts to ensure obtaining papers of identification at the time of approving surety documents for issuing release warrants.
The court then referred to Binoy Viswam v Union of India and others, and the quoted the observation made therein that Aadhaar or UID, which has come to be known as the most advanced and sophisticated infrastructure, may facilitate law enforcement agencies to take care of problem of terrorism to some extent and may also be helpful in checking the crime and also help investigating agencies in cracking the crimes.
“No doubt, going by aforesaid, and may be some other similarly valid considerations, it is the intention of the Government to give fillip to Aadhaar movement and encourage the people of this country to enroll themselves under the Aadhaar scheme,” the court said.
The court issued following directions to trial courts to control and regulate menace of practice of submission of forged documents.
- While examining the surety papers, the trial court shall necessarily obtain copy of the Aadhaar card of the accused as well as of the surety.
- The Aadhaar card of the accused and the surety as well as genuineness of the revenue papers shall be verified by all the trial courts, as soon as the same are furnished, preferably within a period of one week from the date of its submission.
- The release warrant shall be issued only after proper verification of the identity of the accused and the surety as well as the genuineness of the revenue/surety papers.
- In the event the revenue/surety papers or the Aadhaar Card is found to be forged, the concerned trial Court shall forthwith lodge an FIR (First 5 Information Report) against the person who submitted the papers/Aadhaar details.
- The concerned District & Sessions Judge shall maintain a register/database in electronic form containing the case No., crime No., particulars of the accused, details of the Police Station, particulars of the person who has stood surety for the accused therein, the details of the property against which the surety is based, etc.
- If a particular surety is found to have stood surety in many cases on the basis of same property papers, the same shall be rejected, if it is involved in more than two cases.
- The concerned Revenue Officer and the Station House Officer shall cooperate with the trial court in course of verification of revenue/surety papers as well as the Aadhaar details of the accused and the surety.
- All the trial courts shall meticulously follow these directions and shall certify in the order sheet of the respective case that “the verification of papers has been done in accordance with the order passed by the High Court of Chhattisgarh in M.Cr.C No. 3957 of 2017 (Ved Prakash Gupta @ Gudda v. State of Chhattisgarh)”.
- If such certification is not made by the trial Court, disciplinary action may be initiated against the erring Presiding Officer.
Interestingly, these directives have been issued when the Supreme Court is all set to consider challenge the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.
Former Karnataka High Court judge Justice Anand Byrareddy had recently joined the challenge initiated by another former Karnataka High Court judge Justice K Puttaswamy, who is the main petitioner in the original Aadhaar case.
Recently the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court extended the deadline for mandatory linkage of Aadhaar number with all services and schemes, including bank accounts and mobile numbers, to March 31, 2018.
Read the Order Here