28 Oct 2021 5:00 AM GMT
The Kerala High Court, while granting pre-arrest bail to four men accused of assault, ruled that once the purpose of arrest and interrogation are fulfilled, applicants should not be denied anticipatory bail. Justice K. Haripal while warning against the misuse of custodial interrogation observed:"Arresting an accused and interrogating him in custody should have a purpose. If the purpose is...
The Kerala High Court, while granting pre-arrest bail to four men accused of assault, ruled that once the purpose of arrest and interrogation are fulfilled, applicants should not be denied anticipatory bail.
Justice K. Haripal while warning against the misuse of custodial interrogation observed:
"Arresting an accused and interrogating him in custody should have a purpose. If the purpose is over, there is no meaning in rejecting the application for anticipatory bail. Arrest and detention cannot be taken as a luxury for the prosecution."
The Court also decided in the matter that so far as the complaint failed to make out a case under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the embargo under Section 18 will not come into play.
The Court was considering anticipatory bail applications moved by four men accused of brutally assaulting the defacto complainant on the ground that he let his dog relieve itself near a paddy field.
Since the complainant belonged to the Hindu Vettuva community, the accused were booked under Section 3(2)(va) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 apart from offences under IPC.
The petitioners however asserted that their custodial interrogation was not warranted and that the provisions of the Act were not attracted in the case.
Agreeing with the petitioners, the Court noted that for numerous reasons, their custodial interrogation was not warranted.
Upon perusing the chain of incidents, the Bench concluded that the complainant and the accused were acquaintances.
Moreover, all the four petitioners were granted anticipatory bail for a limited period in May 2021 by the Court. Pursuant to this, they had duly surrendered before Investigating Officer and all the essential recoveries had been effected already after interrogating the petitioners.
Hence, it was ruled that custodial interrogation could be dispensed with.
Coming to the question of applicability of the Act, the Court found that there was no reason to invoke such a provision against the petitioners in the case at hand.
Relying on Dr. Subhash Kashinath Mahajan v. State of Maharashtra [AIR 2018 SC 1498], the Court noted that the bar under Section 18 of the Act to grant anticipatory bail is not absolute and it would apply only if prima facie case of commission of offences under the Act are made out.
"Of course, if there is foolproof prima facie case attracting offence under the Act, the embargo under Section 18 will come into play...merely for the reason that he had stated that he belongs to Hindu Vettuva community unless overwhelming reasons are made, the provisions of the said Act cannot be invoked."
The Bench observed that the petitioner had no case that he was assaulted, humiliated or injured merely because he belonged to the Vettuva community.
"Slightest inference is possible from the first information statement that he was humiliated for that purpose," the Court added, being quite doubtless that the incorporation of the provision under the Act cannot be a justification to deny anticipatory bail to the petitioners.
Hence, the applications were allowed and directions were issued to the petitioners to cooperate in the investigation.
Advocate T.S Sarath and R. Rajesh appeared for the petitioners while the respondents were represented by Advocates Shibi K.P, C.K. Sunil and Senior Public Prosecutor Renjith T.R.
Case Title: Prajeesh P.S & Anr. v. State of Kerala & Anr.
Click Here To Read/Download The Order