The Calcutta High Court on Thursday denied bail to a Bangladeshi national, who has been in custody for 270 days, arrested under section 411 and 414, IPC for 'receiving' and 'concealing' stolen property.
On behalf of the applicant it was urged that he is a Bangladeshi national 'but that should not stand in the way of granting bail", that "he has been in custody for 270 days", and that "the stolen articles have been recovered and copy of seizure list emailed". It may be noted that both the offences attract a maximum imprisonment for 3 years and/or fine.
The applicant's counsel placed Reliance on a judgement of 24th July, 2014 of a Division Bench of the Court in Swapna Akhter v. State of West Bengal, where a Bangladeshi citizen, a housewife aged around 25 years, having entered India on a valid passport and Visa but failed to leave the country prior to the expiry of her Visa and therefore, found in breach of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, was granted bail.
In that case, the Court had taken note of the representation made by the petitioner's father before the appropriate government in connection with her detention, the correspondence exchanged between the two governments regarding her repatriation, the validity of her passport and the fact that she entered India on a valid Visa, to afford "a semblance of identity to the petitioner".
"The ratio of Swapna Akhter does not apply to him in the present situation", remarked the Single Judge.
Reference was also made to the directions of the state's High Powered Committee regarding release of convicts/undertrials eligible for parole or interim bail, in pursuance of the Supreme Court order for decongestion of jails in view of the COVID outbreak.
"Directions given in the High Powered Committee's report dated 27th March, 2020 are for giving benefit of judgment dated 2nd July, 2014 of Supreme Court in Arnesh Kumar - Versus - State of Bihar to convicts/undertrials in offences, except those specified. Further additional direction in the alternative is, inter alia, that convicts or undertrial prisoners having residence outside the State may not be considered for release at this stage. This stage is the stage where there is lock down because of pandemic on COVID-19", stated the High Court.
Rejecting the bail application, the Single Bench expressed, "The applicant since not resident in the State as being a Bangladeshi national, cannot be considered for grant of bail at this stage"
Click Here To Download Order