19 Jun 2021 8:07 AM GMT
The Allahabad High Court has taken serious note of "half backed" gang-charts being filed under the UP Gangster Act 1986, that ultimately helps alleged gangsters in "easily obtaining bail", thereby threatening the order of the civil society. A Single Bench of Justice Rahul Chaturvedi observed that in the age of internet, where information of entire world is on one's finger tips,...
The Allahabad High Court has taken serious note of "half backed" gang-charts being filed under the UP Gangster Act 1986, that ultimately helps alleged gangsters in "easily obtaining bail", thereby threatening the order of the civil society.
A Single Bench of Justice Rahul Chaturvedi observed that in the age of internet, where information of entire world is on one's finger tips, the concerned authorities are expected to prepare extensive gang-charts that will help the Court to effectively adjudicate bail pleas.
"The callous and careless approach in preparing the gang chart would not only adversely affect the prospects of criminal prosecution against that individual, who are harden criminals but also the very object of the enactment would also go haywire. The accused would have an easy access of the bails from the law courts," the Bench observed.
It noted that 35 years have lapsed since the enactment, yet no Rules have been framed under the 1986 Act. Taking advantage of this, only an incomplete and half backed gang-charts are prepared by the informants of different bail applications which are later on "mechanically approved" by the responsible higher police authorities of the district, against that Gang.
The Bench therefore directed the Principal Secretary (Homes), Lucknow and the Director General of Police, Lucknow to Start an exercise to frame proper Rules under the 1986 Act, latest by 31st December, 2021.
Meanwhile, they shall issue proper circular to all the SSP/SPs of the District to appoint any officer at least CO Rank, to become authority concern and author of gang chart and act as Nodal Officer of all the police stations within the District.
The order comes on four bail applications filed by alleged gangsters. The Court noted that the charts filed the Police against the four accused suffered from same vice of law i.e 'incomplete and defective gang chart' which does not indicate the accused's complete past credentials, giving ample room for miscarriage of justice, resultantly, the accused-applicant tends to be bailed out easily.
"It is on the part of the alleged laxity by the author of the gang chart and thereafter a blind approval by the higher administrative and police authorities of the District, the harden accused persons, succeeds in getting the bail from the law court.It is highly risky to permit such persons to roam around freely in the open society and the innocent persons of society remain on the tentacle hooks so long as the said accused is a free man and posing serious threat to the orderly society. Thus, after applying the stringent provisions of this Act, State has got right to screw such persons, put them behind the bars and attach their ill-gotten money," the Court observed.
In the instant case, the Court noted that only one case is shown in the gang chart to the credit of an applicant named Nishu. However, the State counsel argued that in addition to the cases shown in the gang chart, the applicant has got 15 other cases to his credit, which is clear from his bail rejection order.
This pushed the Court to wonder, from where these numbers were swelled to 15 cases? Why all these cases were not shown in one gang chart in one go?
From here, the Court made two-fold observations:
1. Incomplete and defective gang chart which does not indicate the accused's complete past credentials, giving ample room for miscarriage of justice, resultantly, the accused-applicant tends to be bailed out easily.
2. The law is often misused and the named accused is fastened with additional criminal liability under the Gangsters Act.
The Court deprecated the 'poisonous' practice of adding more charges at the stage of bail, as it may prejudice the proceedings.
"It is not the discretion of the prosecution to add or substract the number of cases from his gang chart according to their sweet will and at the time of consideration of their bail applications, serve out those cases which are not in the chart. The Court is at loss to appreciate this practice by the prosecution
Indeed, in opinion of the Court, it is a cabbalistic and mysterious situation where the applicants at the stage of their bail before this Court are taken by surprise by the State. This is beyond the settled tenets of fair play and equality. No accused shall be taken by surprise. The Court is failed to appreciate the alleged impediment in preparing full and complete gang chart of that bunch of alleged outlawed persons. The prosecution has to stick upon the stand taken by them from the day one," the Bench observed.
Provisions Of The Gangsters Act Are Being Misused Thoroughly In The State Of Uttar Pradesh By The Police: Allahabad High Court
"The Court has experienced that these police authorities have fasten plural numbers of proceedings under the aforesaid Act, without waiting the final outcome from the law courts with regard to the earlier proceedings.
Usually, the Court admits on bail either on solitary or lesser number of cases against that accused applicant in his gang chart. In the absence of full and comprehensive information regarding criminal credentials of the individual, it creates extremely awkward situation for the prosecutors even in the law courts but also consume valuable time of the courts while holding archaeological exercise to explore one's criminal antecedents. This is totally unacceptable situation. The Court requires entire "criminal horescope" of the individual of the past who has been charged under the U.P. Gangsters Act.
Such type of incomplete or half backed gang charts is reflective of informant's attitude and, his professional incompetence. Any material lapse in preparing the exhaustive gang chart should be plugged at the earliest and not the stage of bail.
It is true that there shall not be repetition of case crime numbers as it may attract the vice of double jeopardy, but there is no restriction if any "addenda" is added to the gang chart spelling out his previous criminal (26) antecedents. That would be easy for the law courts to fathom the depth and gravity of the individual seeking bail after having holistic and comprehensive picture of the criminal history."
The High Court then proceeded to lay down the elements that a cogent gang-chart must reflect:
The SP/SSP of the district after making in depth probe and cross-check, regarding authenticity of the gang chart shall approve it after putting his signatures. Any laxity by the authority concern in preparing the gang chart would warrant serious consequences on his own shoulders.
The Special Judge(Gangster Act) which are operational in every Sessions Divisions in the State are also directed to speed up the trial and make all necessary endeavour to conclude the same within a year of submission of its charge sheet. The proceeding under the U.P. Gangster Act shall be given priority over any other trial.
Case Title: Nishant@Nishu v. State of UP
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