The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the special leave petition of a Jodhpur-resident facing trial under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, allegedly for facilitating the escape of a terror suspect.
The Bench of Justices RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and KM Joseph enlarged the accused on bail, while holding that the Rajasthan High Court had erred in relying on the public prosecutor's statement.
"We are satisfied that the High Court judgment stating that a prima facie case has been made out against the petitioner based on the public prosecutor's statement cannot be said to be strictly correct," the Bench said.
The petitioner-accused was arrested in March 2014, for facilitating the escape of one Barkat Ali, from whose house, huge explosive material was recovered by the police. The Public Prosecutor had therefore submitted before the Rajasthan High Court that there is prima facie evidence collected by the police during the course of investigation, indicating the involvement of the Petitioner.
After perusing Section 43D(5) of the UAPA Act however, the Court said that the public prosecutor's statement could not be said to be "strictly correct". It perused the charge sheet and noted that the Petitioner-accused had not been named in the FIR.
Section 43D(5) is a very stringent provision in terms of bail. It provides that no person accused of a terror offence under the Act "shall be released on bail", unless the Public Prosecutor has been given an opportunity of being heard on the application for such release.
It further stipulates that such accused person "shall not be released on bail", if the Court, on a perusal of the case diary or the report made under section 173 of the Code is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation against such person is prima facie true.
While recording its satisfaction that a case for granting bail is made out, the Bench refrained from saying anything more, so as not to prejudice the trial.
The Petitioner, represented by AoR Irshad Hanif had also argued that during the course of investigation the police had failed to collect strong evidence to this effect that the petitioner was involved in commission of the crime.
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