The High Court of Himachal Pradesh has reiterated that bail is not to be withheld as a mode of punishment because guilt of an accused is established only at conclusion of trial.
While allowing the regular bail application of the Petitioner-accused who had joined the investigation as and when required, the bench comprised of Justice Sandeep Sharma observed,
"object of the bail is to secure the attendance of the accused in the trial and the proper test to be applied in the solution of the question whether bail should be granted or refused is whether it is probable that the party will appear to take his trial. Otherwise, bail is not to be withheld as a punishment."
Reliance was placed on Sanjay Chandra v. Central Bureau of Investigation, (2012) 1 SCC 49, whereby the Supreme Court had observed,
"The object of bail is to secure the appearance of the accused person at his trial by reasonable amount of bail. The object of bail is neither punitive nor preventative. Deprivation of liberty must be considered a punishment, unless it can be required to ensure that an accused person will stand his trial when called upon. The Courts owe more than verbal respect to the principle that punishment begins after conviction, and that every man is deemed to be innocent until duly tried and duly found guilty."
The Petitioner had been booked under Sections 509, 354, 354-A, 323 and 504 of IPC and Section 3(1) (10) of the SC/ ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Since the Additional Advocate General, appearing for the state had informed the court that the Petitioner-accused had joined the investigation and was no longer required for custodial interrogation, the bench allowed the bail plea.
While doing so, the bench highlighted the factors laid down by the Supreme Court in Prasanta Kumar Sarkar v. Ashis Chatterjee & Anr., (2010) 14 SCC 496, for grant of bail and it observed,
"normal rule is of bail and not jail. Court has to keep in mind nature of accusations, nature of evidence in support thereof, severity of the punishment which conviction will entail, character of the accused, circumstances which are peculiar to the accused involved in that crime."
It thereafter ordered that the Petitioner be enlarged on bail subject to his furnishing personal bond in the sum of Rs. 20,000/- each with one local surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of concerned Chief Judicial Magistrate/trial Court.
Case Title: Rajneesh Kumar v. State of Himachal Pradesh
Case No.: Cr. MP (M) No. 678/2020
Quorum: Justice Sandeep Sharma
Appearance: Advocate Nitin Thakur (for Petitioner); AAG Sudhir Bhatnagar
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