Bail not the Jail is the principle in Criminal Law of India

Final judgment in Arnab Goswami case:

The High Court was of the view that the prayers for interim relief proceeded on the premise that the appellant had been illegally detained and since he was in judicial custody, it would not entertain the request for bail or for stay of the investigation in the exercise of its extra-ordinary jurisdiction. The High Court held that since the appellant was in judicial custody, it was open to him to avail of the remedy of bail under Section 439 of the CrPC. The High Court declined prima facie to consider the submission of the appellant that the allegations in the FIR, read as they stand,do not disclose the commission of an offence under Section 306 of the IPC. That is how the case has come to Supreme Court.

Human Liberty

Human liberty is a precious constitutional value,which is undoubtedly subject to regulation by validly enacted legislation.As such, the citizen is subject to the edicts of criminal law and procedure.Section 482 recognizes the inherent power of the High Court to make such orders as are necessary to give effect to the provisions of the CrPC ―or prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.

Respondents are right in submitting that the procedural hierarchy of courts in matters concerning the grant of bail needs to be respected. However, there was a failure of the High Court to discharge its adjudicatory function at two levels –first in declining to evaluate prima facie at the interim stage in a petition for quashing the FIR as to whether an arguable case has been made out, and secondly, in declining interim bail, as a consequence of its failure to render a prima facie opinion on the first. The High Court did have the power to protect the citizen by an interim order in a petition invoking Article226. Where the High Court has failed to do so, this Court would be abdicating its role and functions as a constitutional court if it refuses to interfere, despite the parameters for such interference being met. The doors of this Court cannot be closed to a citizen who is able to establish prima facie that the instrumentality of the State is being weaponized for using the force of criminal law. Our courts must ensure that they continue to remain the first line of defense against the deprivation of the liberty of citizens. Deprivation of liberty even for a single day is one day too many. We must always be mindful of the deeper systemic implications of our decisions

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Challenge to Order Framing of Charge in Writ Jurisdiction

Whether an order on charge would be an interlocutory order for the purposes of Section 19(3)(c) PCA:

If contrary to the above law, at the stage of charge, the High Court adopts the approach of weighing probabilities and re-appreciate the material, it may be certainly a time consuming exercise. The legislative policy of expeditious final disposal of the trial is thus, hampered. Thus, even while reiterating the view that there is no bar to jurisdiction of the High Court to consider a challenge against an order of framing charge in exceptional situation for correcting a patent error of lack of jurisdiction, exercise of such jurisdiction has to be limited to rarest of rare cases.

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Abusing a person belonging to Scheduled Caste: Culpability

Offence under SC/ST Act:

Offence under the Act is not established merely on the fact that the informant is a member of Scheduled Caste unless there is an intention to humiliate a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe for the reason that the victim belongs to such caste. In the present case, the parties are litigating over possession of the land. The allegation of hurling of abuses is against a person who claims title over the property. If such person happens to be a Scheduled Caste, the offence under Section 3(1)(r)of the Act is not made out.

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Supreme Court grants bail to Arnab Goswami

The Supreme Court has passed following orders on 11 November 2020:

We are of the considered view that the High Court was in error in rejecting the applications for the grant of interim bail. We accordingly order and direct that Arnab Manoranjan Goswami, Feroz Mohammad Shaikh and Neetish Sarda shall be released on interim bail, subject to each of them executing a personal bond in the amount of Rs 50,000 to be executed before the Jail Superintendent.

(Emphasis Supplied)

The Supreme Court has kept the SLP(Crl) No. 005598 – 005598/2020 (Crl.A. No. 000742 – 000742/2020) pending for final orders on a later date.

Read the full order here:
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Power of Police to investigate after submission of closure report

Arnab Goswami vs. State of Maharashtra:

Maharashtra High Court has decided to dismiss the Application seeking interim relief of Stay on arrest holding that there is no illegality in arrest and continued investigation after the submission of closure report due to the reasons stated by police, is not illegal. Hence there is no merit in the contention that arrest is illegal. It observed:

Bail in Writ Jurisdiction:

No doubt, regard being had to the parameters of quashing and the self-restraint imposed by law, this court has jurisdiction to quash the investigation and pass appropriate interim orders as thought apposite in law. However, the powers are to be exercised sparingly and that too, in rare and appropriate cases and in extreme circumstances to prevent abuse of process of law.
44. In State of Telangana vs. Habib Abdullah Jeelani & others (supra), their Lordships have observed that the Courts have to ensure such a power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is not to be exercised liberally so as to convert it into section 438 of Cr.P.C. proceedings.

45. The principle stated therein will equally apply to the exercise of this Court’s power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure while considering the applications for
bail since the petitioner is already in Judicial custody. The legislature has provided specific remedy under Section 439 Cr.P.C. for applying for regular bail. Having regard to the alternate and efficacious remedy available to the petitioner under section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, this Court has to exercise judicial restraint while entertaining application in the nature of seeking regular bail in a petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India read with section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure.

Read Full Judgment:

Ingredients for offence of abetment of suicide

Offence of Abetment to commit suicide:

Suicide note naming the accused as abettor if sufficient:

As pointed out by the High Court, of course PW-1 to PW-5 have spoken about the borrowing of money by the deceased and also the execution of the promissory note. The sheet anchor of the prosecution’s case to prove the guilt of the accused is the suicide note (M.O.1)-written by the deceased. On perusal of suicide note (M.O.1), it is seen that in M.O.1 the deceased has written about the financial difficulties faced by him and his inability to meet the financial crunch and also his inability to repay the same. The tenor of M.O.1 only shows that the deceased was subjected to pressure for payment and was facing the financial difficulty. In M.O.1 (letter) there is nothing to indicate that there was instigation by the appellant-accused which had driven the deceased to take the extreme step of committing suicide.

The essential ingredients of the offence under Section 306 I.P.C. are:

(i) the abetment;

(ii) the intention of the accused to aid or instigate or abet the deceased to commit suicide.

The act of the accused, however, insulting the deceased by using abusive language will not, by itself, constitute the abetment of suicide.

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Confinement of Prisoner in Cruel and Inhuman Prison Conditions

Taylor, a Texas inmate, alleges that in September 2013, correctional officers confined him in a cell covered, nearly floor to ceiling, in “ ‘massive amounts’ of feces.” Taylor did not eat or drink for nearly four days. Officers then moved Taylor to another, frigidly cold cell, which was equipped with only a clogged floor drain to dispose of bodily wastes. Taylor held his bladder for over 24 hours, but eventually, involuntarily relieved himself, causing the drain to overflow and raw sewage to spill across the floor. The cell lacked a bunk and Taylor was confined without clothing; he was left to sleep naked in sewage.

Court of Appeal:

The Fifth Circuit held that such conditions of confinement violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment but, concluding that “[t]he law wasn’t clearly established” that “prisoners couldn’t be housed in cells teeming with human waste” “for only six days,” the court held that the prison officials did not have “ ‘fair warning’ that their specific acts were unconstitutional.”

Supreme Court of USA

The officers were not entitled to qualified immunity; no reasonable correctional officer could have concluded that, under these extreme circumstances, it was constitutionally permissible to house Taylor in such deplorably unsanitary conditions for an extended period of time. There was no evidence that the conditions of Taylor’s confinement were compelled by necessity or exigency nor that those conditions could not have been mitigated, either in degree or duration. While an officer-by-officer analysis will be necessary on remand, the record suggests that at least some officers involved in Taylor’s ordeal were deliberately indifferent to the conditions of his cells.

It was held that:

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit properly held that such conditions of confinement violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. But, based on its assessment that “[t]he law wasn’t clearly established” that “prisoners couldn’t be housed in cells teeming with human waste” “for only six days,” the court concluded that the prison officials responsible for Taylor’s confinement did not have “ ‘fair warning’ that their specific acts were unconstitutional.” 946 F. 3d, at 222 (quoting Hope v. Pelzer, 536 U.S. 730, 741 (2002)).

The Fifth Circuit erred in granting the officers qualified immunity on this basis. “Qualified immunity shields an officer from suit when she makes a decision that, even if constitutionally deficient, reasonably misapprehends the law governing the circumstances she confronted.” Brosseau v. Haugen, 543 U.S. 194, 198 (2004) (per curiam). But no reasonable correctional officer could have concluded that, under the extreme circumstances of this case, it was constitutionally permissible to house Taylor in such deplorably unsanitary conditions for such an extended period of time. See Hope, 536 U. S., at 741 (explaining that “ ‘a general constitutional rule already identified in the decisional law may apply with obvious clarity to the specific conduct in question’ ” (quoting United States v. Lanier, 520 U.S. 259, 271 (1997))); 536 U. S.,at 745 (holding that “[t]he obvious cruelty inherent” in putting inmates in certain wantonly “degrading and dangerous” situations provides officers “with some notice that their alleged conduct violate[s]” the Eighth Amendment). The Fifth Circuit identified no evidence that the conditions of Taylor’s confinement were compelled by necessity or exigency. Nor does the summary-judgment record reveal any reason to suspect that the conditions of Taylor’s confinement could not have been mitigated, either in degree or duration. And although an officer-by-officer analysis will be necessary on remand, the record suggests that at least some officers involved in Taylor’s ordeal were deliberately indifferent to the conditions of his cells. See, e.g., 946 F. 3d, at 218 (one officer, upon placing Taylor in the first feces-covered cell, remarked to another that Taylor was “ ‘going to have a long weekend’ ”); ibid., and n. 9 (another officer, upon placing Taylor in the second cell, told Taylor he hoped Taylor would “ ‘f***ing freeze’ ”).

Confronted with the particularly egregious facts of this case, any reasonable officer should have realized that Taylor’s conditions of confinement offended the Constitution.[2] We therefore grant Taylor’s petition for a writ of certiorari, vacate the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

[Source: Taylor v. Riojas, 592 U.S. ___ (2020) USA]

Police Summoning a person from New Delhi to Kolkata on a facebook post.

Facebook post implying State bias towards a community:

The FIR contains a statement that the posts imply that:

(i) the State administration was going soft on the violation of the lock down at Rajabazar as the area is predominantly inhibited by a particular community and;

(ii) that the State administration is complacent while dealing with lock down violations caused by a certain segment of the community.

Reasonable Exercise of power of summoning:

The court must safeguard the fundamental right to the freedom of expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. There is a need to ensure that the power under section 41A is not used to intimidate, threaten and harass.

Full Order of Supreme Court:

SLP(Crl) 4937/2020
1
ITEM NO.20 Court 6 (Video Conferencing) SECTION II-B
S U P R E M E C O U R T O F I N D I A
RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No.4937/2020
(Arising out of impugned final judgment and order dated 29-09-2020
in CRAN No. 2/2020 passed by the High Court at Calcutta)
ROSHNI BISWAS Petitioner(s)
VERSUS
STATE OF WEST BENGAL & ANR. Respondent(s)

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A book about law relating to Bail or Jail

Law relating arrest, bail and personal liberty in India is governed by various legislations as also a number of precedents.

Click here to read free sample of Bail at Google Play Books.

Click here to read free sample of Bail or Jail at Amazon Kindle.

An ebook about law relating to Bail in India. It helps to determine how to get out of prison or jail quickly by explaining all aspects of this branch of Criminal Law.

As regards legislations, it is governed by Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. Offences governed by Indian Penal Code 1860 besides other specialised laws e.g. Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, Benami Property Act or Customs Act, 1962 etc.

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