Justice GS Patel of the Bombay High Court has expressed displeasure while hearing a bail application filed by one Sayyed Masood, who was arrested in 2010 for offences punishable under Sections 406, 420 and 120 B of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Masood has been in jail for four years and five months now and the maximum imprisonment under sections invoked against him is seven years.
This matter, which was specially assigned to Justice Patel, was mentioned for circulation on April 27 and Justice Patel assigned the next day for the matter to be listed.
Even at the time of mentioning, circulation was sought for May 4, a couple of days before the high court closes for vacations.
When the matter came up for hearing the next day, adjournment was sought on behalf of the applicant on the ground that no affidavit in reply was filed by the state.
Rutuja Ambekar, APP for the State submitted that no reply is necessary, and not every bail application requires a reply as a matter of routine.
Following this, applicant’s lawyer Dinesh Tiwari submitted that May 4 will be the date convenient for counsel engaged by the applicant and hence sought an adjournment. The applicant is incarcerated in Bengaluru and the counsel is also from Bengaluru.
Tiwari also stated that he has no instruction to proceed and asked the matter to be kept at the date convenient to the applicant’s counsel.
Justice Patel articulated his frustration with the entire situation in the following manner-
“I find it astonishing that a person in custody would subject his liberty to his advocate’s or counsel’s diary. Yet, that is how the Applicant would have it. It is preposterous that in a bail application the Applicant demands a distant date because that is convenient to his lawyer, when the court to which the application is made is ready to proceed with the matter at the nearest possible date, i.e., the very next day after the matter is mentioned and circulation sought.
We are too often accused of not granting early circulation in bail matters. Yet, when we do, and grant circulation is granted for the next day, here is an Applicant whose instructions to his lawyer are to seek an adjournment to a later date suitable to his counsel. He seems to prefer continued incarceration to an early hearing.
If that be so, I see no reason at all to give this matter priority.”
Thus, the matter will now be listed on June 6 after vacations before a regular bench.
Read the Order here.