30 Oct 2023 3:36 PM GMT
Detention or jail before being pronounced guilty of an offence should not become punishment without trial, said the Supreme Court in the judgment refusing bail to former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in the Delhi liquor policy scam case. The Court in its judgment has emphasised that the right to speedy trial is a fundamental right within the scope of Article 21 of the...
Detention or jail before being pronounced guilty of an offence should not become punishment without trial, said the Supreme Court in the judgment refusing bail to former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in the Delhi liquor policy scam case.
The Court in its judgment has emphasised that the right to speedy trial is a fundamental right within the scope of Article 21 of the Constitution. The Court observed that, if the trial is unnecessarily delayed for no fault of the accused, the court must exercise its power to grant bail. The Court observed that the constitutional mandate is the higher law, and it is the basic right of the person charged of an offence and not convicted, that he be ensured and given a speedy trial.
In this context, the bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti has listed out certain factors to be considered for grant of bail:
1. Detention or jail before being pronounced guilty of an offence should not become punishment without trial.
2. If the trial gets protracted despite assurances of the prosecution, and it is clear that case will not be decided within a foreseeable time, the prayer for bail may be meritorious.
3. While the prosecution may pertain to an economic offence, yet it may not be proper to equate these cases with those punishable with death, imprisonment for life, ten years or more like offences under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, murder, cases of rape, dacoity, kidnaping for ransom, mass violence, etc.
4.The right to bail in cases of delay, coupled with incarceration for a long period, depending on the nature of the allegations, should be read into Section 439 of the Code and Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
5. When the trial is not proceeding for reasons not attributable to the accused, the court, unless there are good reasons, may well be guided to exercise the power to grant bail. This would be truer where the trial would take years.
If the trial is not concluded in a speedy manner as assured by the prosecution, Sisodia will be entitled to apply for bail again in 3 months, the Apex Court said.
“In view of the assurance given at the Bar on behalf of the prosecution that they shall conclude the trial by taking appropriate steps within next six to eight months, we give liberty to the appellant – Manish Sisodia to move a fresh application for bail in case of change in circumstances, or in case the trial is protracted and proceeds at a snail’s pace in next three months” a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti said while delivering the verdict.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader has been in custody since February of this year and is being investigated by both the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Directorate of Enforcement (ED). Today's verdict was delivered in Sisodia’s pleas against the Delhi High Court denying him bail in both the CBI and ED cases.
Other reports about the judgment can be read here.
Case Details: Manish Sisodia v. Central Bureau of Investigation | Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 8167 of 2023
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 934
Click here to read/download judgment