A Delhi Court has released an accused charged under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on interim bail while observing that every millisecond of unnecessary detention makes a substantial difference and tantamounts to an unwarranted interference with the rights of the accused.
Habibur Rehman was accused of being a member of a crime syndicate involved in trading in Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN). Prosecution had therefore heavily relied upon the intercepted conversation between him and a co accused.
While noting that that no sanction order with respect to the said intercepted conversation was placed on record by the prosecution, Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendar Rana expressed dissatisfaction on the fact that the matter was being adjourned for want of the said sanction order for the past two dates.
At the outset, the Court observed that a very hazy and sketchy reply was filed on record on behalf of Assistant Commissioner of Police, Special Cell intimating the court that the said sanction order had been weeded out.
"The reply of the ACP, Special Cell is not clear as to if the copy received in the Special Cell has been weeded out or the record pertaining to the original sanction order maintained in the Home Department has been weeded out. The reply is also silent as to how and under what circumstances, copy of the said communication received in the office of Special Cell was weeded out," the Court noted.
The Judge also said that the reply was unclear as to It why the copy of the sanction order was not placed on record and what communication, if at all any, was received from the office of Union Home Secretary confirming the weeding out of the said sanction order.
"The reply filed by ACP, Special Cell, unfortunately, raises more queries to be answered rather than help the court resolve the issue with respect to the said sanction order," the Judge said.
The Court thus requested In the Union Home Secretary, Government of India, to look into the matter personally and apprise the court regarding the status of sanction order
The Court also requested the Worthy Special Commissioner, Special Cell to look into the matter personally and apprise the court as to under what circumstances, copy of the said sanction order was weeded out and why the same was not placed on record along with the chargesheet.
Noting that the bail plea was lingering on due to the callousness of the investigating agency for the past several dates, the Court said thus:
"This court is required to deal with the sacrosanct right of liberty coupled with the golden principle of presumption of innocence juxtaposed against the seriousness of allegations, enormity of charge and statutory bar u/s 43D of UAPA. This court is not inclined to pass any orders on merits upon the basis of half baked information furnished by the investigating agency, at the same time, the court is quite conscious of the sacrosanct rights of the accused."
"Article 21 of Constitution of India proscribes deprivation of liberty sans authority of law. In my considered opinion, every millisecond of unnecessary detention makes a substantial difference and tantamounts to an unwarranted interference with the rights of the accused."
Accordingly, for balancing the rights of the accused, the Court released Habibur Rehman on interim bail till next date of hearing subject to his filing personal bond in the sum of Rs. 50,000 with two sureties each in the like amount subject to satisfaction of the court.
"It is clarified that instant interim bail order should not be read as an order on merits and the applicant/accused Habibur Rehman shall not claim any benefit on account of this order as this order is only an interim measure to contain the damages on account of investigative agency's apathy and indolence," the Court said.
The matter is now listed on May 27 for report of worthy Union Home Secretary and Special Commissioner, Special Cell and arguments on the bail application.