21 Sep 2023 9:56 AM GMT
The Manipur High Court recently refused bail to 3 men including a former state MLA (T Thangzalam Haokip) arrested for allegedly instigating fresh violence in a locality of Imphal consisting of mixed communities during the volatile situation of communal clash in the state. Taking note of the allegations against the accused persons, the bench of Justice A. Guneshwar Sharma observed that...
The Manipur High Court recently refused bail to 3 men including a former state MLA (T Thangzalam Haokip) arrested for allegedly instigating fresh violence in a locality of Imphal consisting of mixed communities during the volatile situation of communal clash in the state.
Taking note of the allegations against the accused persons, the bench of Justice A. Guneshwar Sharma observed that the incident had the potential of erupting fresh violence in the area if the same had not been prevented by the security forces in time.
The case in brief
As per the prosecution’s case, on May 22, 2023, the accused persons, at the instigation of Ex-MLA T Thangzalam Haokip, turned up at Checkon Tribal Market, Imphal East and broke the peace and tranquillity of the said area by threatening the vendors sitting in the market belonging to different ethnic groups to vacate the place immediately.
The accused persons also intimidated women vendors and shopkeepers around the area to shut down the shops and vendors. The accused persons also allegedly used abusive and hateful words to the womenfolk vendors from different communities in the area and as such, high tension erupted in the said area.
As a result, shops and vendors belonging to different ethnic groups got agitated and huge mobs out of anger tried to storm into the New Lambulane area.
Earlier, their bail plea had been rejected by the trial court, following which, they moved the Court contending that the allegation against them was based on false propaganda due to the conflict that is taking place in Manipur.
On the other hand, the State Government filed a counter affidavit stating that the accused persons admitted their roles in the commission of alleged offences and if they are released on bail, they might induce/threaten the prosecution witnesses directly or indirectly and may hamper the probe.
Lastly, it was submitted that the incident had triggered fresh violence in this sensitive area and the State Government had to clamp curfew in this area for a longer period to control the volatile situation and hence, they were not liable to be granted bail.
High Court’s observations and order
Against this backdrop, the Court, noting the seriousness of the case, said that the fact that admissibility of the seizure and confessions of the co-accused would be examined during the trial and the same may not be appropriate and is premature at this stage while considering bail applications.
The Court further noted that the complaint against the accused is corroborated by the statements of the witnesses recorded under Section 161 CrPC and that the safety of the accused is also of paramount importance.
Considering all these facts, this Court did not find appropriate grounds to release the accused persons on bail. Accordingly, bail applications were rejected.
On the plea taken regarding the health issues of A1, the Court clarified that it was expressing any opinion on his health condition and so he was at liberty to approach the appropriate forum for bail on medical grounds if so advised.
Case title - Vicky Mangoulam Singson vs. Officer-in-Charge, Porompat Police Station and connected matters
Case Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Mani) 6
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