6 Sep 2023 4:21 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has observed that acid attack cases, “characterized by their sheer brutality and devastating consequences”, are among the most grievous crimes which send shockwaves through communities and thus, the role of a court in granting or denying bail to the accused is of vital significance.Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma noted that such attacks often result in...
The Delhi High Court has observed that acid attack cases, “characterized by their sheer brutality and devastating consequences”, are among the most grievous crimes which send shockwaves through communities and thus, the role of a court in granting or denying bail to the accused is of vital significance.
Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma noted that such attacks often result in life-altering injuries, causing not only physical pain but also emotional scars that may never heal.
“A heinous crime such as acid attack on a woman, disfiguring her for life, in broad daylight in a thickly populated area due to a love proposition repelled by the victim, can evoke strong emotions in the society in addition to inflicting grave psychological trauma to the victim. It is in such situations and cases that the Court's role as a guardian of justice needs to come to the fore,” the court said.
Justice Sharma made the observations while denying bail to a man accused of throwing acid on a 30 years old senior resident doctor, in conspiracy with a fellow doctor with whom he was working as a compounder.
It was the prosecution’s case that the co-accused doctor was a one sided lover who planned the entire crime after he felt revengeful as his marriage proposal was rejected and advances were repelled by the victim.
The court observed that the applicant accused, as per the prosecution and investigation, not only hired the juveniles to carry out the heinous offence but also participated in the entire plan from the beginning.
“From the point of making the plan by co-accused Dr. Ashok, to the point of carrying out rehearsals by using water in syringes provided by the co-accused, to doing reki of the area and route which was taken by the victim, to identification of the victim by the juveniles, and the present accused throwing acid and procuring the same, coordinating between the juveniles and the co-accused, to disposing of the articles snatched from the victim by the co-accused(s), he has been a part of it all,” the court said.
As the applicant contended that he should be enlarged on bail as he had been in judicial custody for the last nine years and the conclusion of trial will take some time, Justice Sharma said that the case presented a proposition to decide as to how the heinousness of the offence should be weighed in relation to long period of incarceration of the accused at the time of considering grant of bail.
“The Courts have to remain steadfast in its commitment to following due process of law, fairness of procedure and justice, and upholding individual fundamental rights, even when dealing with the most abhorrent offences,” the court said.
The court added that it cannot close its eyes to the unseen psychological pain and the aftermath faced by the victim which will continue throughout her life, and how the said incident may have evoked fear and insecurity in many girls in the society.
“While the accused may bemoan his long incarceration while the trial is concluding, he wants to come out of the jail to breath in fresh air and be the same person again, this Court while exercising judicial discretion cannot ignore that the victim has to wear black glasses, most of the time of her life as she did in the Court, lest questions or questioning eyes about the scar marks on her face again traumatize her every moment of life taking away the pleasure of leading a normal life in future,” the court said.
It added that as the agony of the accused of long incarceration in jail due to a prolonged trial has to be appreciated by a court, on the similar lines, the wait of a victim for justice cannot be lost sight of.
“This Court cannot but shudder at the thought of her emotions, whenever she looks into the mirror and is reminded not only of the incident and the pain she has gone through but also the face she has lost forever which she was born with, and the ability to see the world with two beautiful eyes given by the God one of which has been snatched due to the incident in question,” the court said.
Expressing displeasure on the trial for prolonging the trial for nine years, Justice Sharma said that it will serve the ends of justice if seven witnesses which remain to be examined in the case are examined on a day-to-day basis and the trial is concluded within four months.
“The concerned DCP will ensure that the witnesses appear before the Court on the day they are summoned, which is essential since it is an old case and some of the witnesses may have been transferred from one police station to another and some may have retired,” the court said.
Case Title: VAIBHAV KUMAR v. STATE NCT OF DELHI & ANR.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 792
Click Here To Read Order