In a significant order, the Supreme Court on Thursday cancelled bail granted by the Rajasthan High Court to four accused charge-sheeted for the commission of a brutal murder of a village sarpanch belonging to the Scheduled Tribe in Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan. The petitioner/informant alleged that the accused were illegal sand mafia and killed the sarpanch as he was taking a very strong stand against illegal sand mining in the area, especially post the order dated 16.11.2017 by which the Supreme Court had restrained sand mining in Rajasthan completely.
The bench of Justices U.U. Lalit and Hemant Gupta recorded that in relation to the incident that occurred during the night intervening the 14th-15th of February, 2018, an FIR was lodged on 15.02.2018 in respect of offences punishable under Sections 147,148, 149 read with 302 IPC and Section 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention) of Atrocities Act, 1989. The respondents-accused having been arrested in connection with the aforesaid crime, preferred an application for bail which was rejected by the trial court. Being aggrieved, an appeal was preferred under Section 14A of the SC/ST Act before the Rajasthan High Court which was accepted by the high court vide its order dated 12.07.2018. The respondents-accused were in custody for about four months before they were released on bail. It further was recorded that charge sheet in the matter has been filed after completion of investigation. The Supreme Court set aside the high court’s order and passed the following directions:
(a) The respondents-accused shall surrender within three weeks from today, failing which they shall immediately be arrested by the concerned police authorities. A copy of this order shall be sent to the concerned Police Station and to the Jurisdictional Chief Judicial Magistrate for compliance.
(b) After the respondents-accused are taken in custody, the matter shall be considered by the trial court for framing of charges, if any.
(c) The respondents-accused shall be entitled to renew their prayer for bail, in case the charges are framed by the trial court.
The informant was represented by Senior Advocate Anjana Prakash and Namit Saxena. The accused were represented by Senior Advocate Sushil Jain.