11 July 2021 5:03 AM GMT
The Chhattisgarh High Court has observed that the undertrial prisoners who are facing trial for offences investigated by specialized agencies, cases involving riots, anti-national activities, UAPA etc., are not entitled for release under the High Powered Committee Guidelines. Relying on the relevant portions of the guidelines, Justice Narendra Kumar Vyas observed thus: "The under...
The Chhattisgarh High Court has observed that the undertrial prisoners who are facing trial for offences investigated by specialized agencies, cases involving riots, anti-national activities, UAPA etc., are not entitled for release under the High Powered Committee Guidelines.
Relying on the relevant portions of the guidelines, Justice Narendra Kumar Vyas observed thus:
"The under trial prisoners, who are facing trial under Prevention of Corruption Act/ Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 and cases investigate by CBI/ED/NIA/ Special Cell, Crime Branch, SFIO, Terror related cases, Riot cases, under Anti-National Activities and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act etc., are not entitled to be released."
The Court was hearing a petition challenging the lower court's order dated 22nd May 2021 rejecting the Petitioners' plea for interim bail as per the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in Suo Motu Petition (C) No. 01/2020 in Contagion of Covid 19 Virus.
The petitioners were accused of engaging in trading of gold and silver ornaments as per the intelligence inputs received by the authorities. It was later found that they had sent money through Hawala.
According to the State, it was submitted that since no regular bail application under Section 437 and 439 was filed by the petitioners, they were not entitled to interim bail. It was also stated that apart from Customs Act, further investigation under other provisions had also been initiated against them.
The Court was thus of the prima facie opinion that there was involvement of the petitioners in the alleged offence of smuggling of gold.
"This prima facie establishes that the petitioners are habitual offenders. The diary statement of the witnesses also prima facie indicates that the petitioners are very much involved in smuggling of gold and silver, which is injurious to economic growth of the nation. The case diary further reflects that investigation is in a primary stage," the Court said.
Observing that there is a possibility of the petitioners defeating or delaying the course of justice or tampering with the evidences, the Court held that they were not entitled to get the benefit of Supreme Court's order and the HPC guidelines.
In this regard it noted that the Top Court has itself held that "orders of this Court are not to be construed as any direction, or even observation, requiring release of under-trial prisoners charged with murder, and that too, even before investigation is completed and the charge-sheet is filed."
The petition was accordingly dismissed.
Title: Vijay Baid & Ors. v. Assistant Director, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Government of India, Raipur
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