12 Jun 2023 5:22 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court has refused bail to an accused charged in the 2020 Bengaluru riots citing primacy of public safety and collective interest of the society over individual liberty as constitutionally guaranteed under the Constitution.A division bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice Pradeep Singh Yerur also refuse to apply the 'bail is the rule and jail is an exception' dicta of...
The Karnataka High Court has refused bail to an accused charged in the 2020 Bengaluru riots citing primacy of public safety and collective interest of the society over individual liberty as constitutionally guaranteed under the Constitution.
A division bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice Pradeep Singh Yerur also refuse to apply the 'bail is the rule and jail is an exception' dicta of the Supreme Court stating,
"Firstly, such a dicta has to remain miles away when the class of offences which the accused is ascribed of, arise under a special statute of great significance, like the one at hands; secondly, the Parliament in its accumulated wisdom has enacted the clauses in the 1967 (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, that severely restrict the claim for grant of bail. Thirdly the statute also enacts a ‘negative burden’ clause, which places the onus on the shoulders of accused, much in variance with the normal rule i.e., the burden of proof lies on the prosecution.”
The bench thus dismissed the appeal filed by accused Imran Ahmed, challenging the successive order passed by the special court in November last year, refusing him bail.
The accused had primarily argued that the court should consider the sanctity of basic human rights, the doctrine of innocence of accused till contra is proved. He also referred to the famous dicta of Justice Krishna Iyer ‘bail is the rule and jail is an exception'.
At the outset, the bench noted that this norm 'lenient norm' of bail jurisprudence was evolved decades ago and in a case that involved offences punishable under the provisions of Macaulay’s Code i.e., IPC, 1860.
It said much water has flowed under the bridges and today, we are living in different times where every daily newspaper has some report or photograph about the terrorist acts.
“Almost all the norms in a legal system, be it civil or criminal, are relative; they are bound to the Society’s Calendar. With ceaseless run of Time, these norms undergo change in their texture & colour for retaining their relevance as a living law of the people…Norms of the kind cannot be chanted like mantra or slogans, in every bail petition out of the contextual circumstance. Etymology of a norm is ever the arbiter of its worth,” it remarked.
The bench was further of the opinion that norms which govern behaviour of individuals ordinarily cannot transcend the social conditions that were obtained when they were evolved. "Added, their efficacy level and invocability potential do not remain constant; variable, they are. All this cannot be lost sight of by the courts,” it said.
Turning down the other contention that there is presumption of innocence of the accused till contra is proved, the bench noted that even this norm is subject to exceptions.
“The 1967 Act vide section 43-D(5) incorporates a negative burden clause. That being the position, we are not sure whether the doctrine of innocence can be readily invoked in the case at hands. Added, the most probable & undesirable consequences of releasing an under trial involved in the perpetration of such a horrendous incident of such a magnitude & infamy repels the invocation of said doctrine, in the given circumstances of the case,” it observed.
Court said the SPP is more than justified in contending that in serious matters like this wherein after investigation the Charge Sheet has been filed by the specialized Investigating Agency, Court should keep away from indulgence especially when the Coordinate Bench has affirmed Trial Judge’s order declining bail.
It added “The NIA after investigation has placed on record abundant material such as the videographs & photographs of the incident, the mobile phone call records, mobile tower records, weapons used, the statement of eye witnesses including injured police officials, etc., that prima facie demonstrates that the appellant-accused was an active participant in the said incident, that was like a nightmare to the city life.”
The court also agreed with the prosecution submission that in bail matters, what the court has to bear in mind is not only the rights & liberties of the accused but also the threat to safety of the civil society, should offenders of the kind be released from confinement.
Placing reliance on a Supreme Court judgment in the case of Sunil Roy vs. State of UP (1998), the bench said “Keeping in mind the sanctity of human rights as recognized by the Apex Court in the light of constitutional guarantees; we are conscious to the possible societal implications should accused of the kind be enlarged from confinement. We are of the considered view that the cause of justice would be served more by continuing him in confinement than setting him free.”
Considering that there are several accused persons who have suffered rejection of their bail petitions and as a consequence, are continuing in judicial custody, the bench expedited the trial and said “They have a Fundamental Right to speedy justice, cannot be lost sight of. This is a fit case for speedy trial, if possible, on a day to day basis. We are also aware of the burden that the learned trial Judge of Special Court shoulders.”
Case Title: Imran Ahmed And National Investigating Agency
Case No: CRL.A.NO.124/2023
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 215
Date of Order: 29-05-2023
Appearance: Advocate Mohammed Tahir for Appellant.
Advocate Prasanna Kumar P for Respondent.
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment