Court re­jects Kan­i­mozhi’s bail plea on grounds that she be­longs to the up­per ech­e­lons of so­ci­ety

India Today - - NATION - Bysandeep­bamzai andb­hav­navij-aurora

‘The con­vic­tion rate in the coun­try is so poor that the courts are deny­ing bail, mak­ing in­car­cer­a­tion with­out be­ing proven guilty, a mode of pun­ish­ment.’ KTS TULSI, Supreme Court lawyer

DMK pa­tri­arch K. Karunanidhi was con­vinced that his daugh­ter Kan­i­mozhi would be fi­nally re­leased when CBI said pub­licly that it would no longer op­pose bail since the chargesheet had been filed. The Karunanidhi clan came to Delhi’s Pa­tiala House court on the morn­ing of Novem­ber 3, con­fi­dent that they would take Kan­i­mozhi home. Both the law and logic sug­gested that ev­ery rea­son to keep her any longer in jail had been ex­hausted. Then Spe­cial Judge O.P. Saini dropped his af­ter­noon bomb­shell: back to Ti­har.

His rea­sons were cu­ri­ous, to say the least. Kan­i­mozhi would re­main be­hind bars be­cause she is af­flu­ent and she would be se­cure. The le­gal com­mu­nity was puz­zled; those at the re­ceiv­ing end of this de­ci­sion could think of no rea­son apart from ju­di­cial over-ac­tivism. The de­ci­sion will be ap­pealed in the High Court but it has once again aroused a fu­ri­ous de­bate over the rights of un­der­trial pris­on­ers. Are they in­no­cent till proved guilty, or guilty till proved in­no­cent? Se­nior lawyer K.T.S. Tulsi says that with the con­vic­tion rate so poor in the coun­try, courts are deny­ing bail, mak­ing in­car­cer­a­tion with­out be­ing proven guilty as a mode of pun­ish­ment. Homi Ran­ina, se­nior ad­vo­cate, Supreme Court says, "I think an un­nec­es­sar­ily strict view has been taken by the judge. Bail should have been granted. Un­less there is a com­pelling rea­son, the chargesheet has been filed, the trial is set to be­gin on Novem­ber 11, they aren't go­ing to tam­per with ev­i­dence, not now and not per­son­ally.”

Saini dis­missed her bail ap­pli­ca­tion, along with those of four oth­ers— Kalaig­nar TV chief Sharad Ku­mar, Bol­ly­wood pro­ducer Karim Mo­rani, di­rec­tors of Kusegaon Fruits and Veg­eta­bles Asif Balwa and Ra­jiv Agar­wal. Saini said, “It is re­peat­edly sub­mit­ted that these rea­sons make out good ground for bail to the ac­cused. I have be­stowed my care­ful and anx­ious con­sid­er­a­tion to these sub­mis­sions. In the facts and cir­cum­stances of a par­tic­u­lar case, these fac­tors may be rel­e­vant con­sid­er­a­tion but in some cases it may not be so.” He said af­ter fram­ing of charges un­der “a more se­ri­ous” sec­tion of 409 IPC (crim­i­nal breach of trust) which car­ries life im­pris­on­ment as max­i­mum pun­ish­ment, “there is no favourable change in the case of the ac­cused.”

On Oc­to­ber 22, Kan­i­mozhi was charged with a sup­port­ing pro­vi­sion of sec­tion 409 IPC (crim­i­nal breach of trust) read with sec­tion 120 B (crim­i­nal con­spir­acy) in the 2G case. Saini’s or­der says, “Per­sons in­volved in such of­fences, par­tic­u­larly those who con­tinue to reap the ben­e­fit of the crime com­mit­ted by them, don’t de­serve any in­dul­gence and any sym­pa­thy to them would not only be en­tirely mis­placed, but also against the larger in­ter­est of so­ci­ety. The court can­not be obliv­i­ous to the fact that such of­fences are pre­ceded by cool, cal­cu­lated and de­lib­er­ate de­sign with an eye on per­sonal gains. If a per­son knows that even af­ter mis­ap­pro­pri­at­ing huge pub­lic funds, he can come out on bail af­ter spend­ing a few months in jail.” The tone and tenor of the or­der sug­gests there will be no mercy in the short term.

On Novem­ber 2, the Supreme Court bench of Jus­tice G S Singhvi and Jus­tice H.L. Dattu re­served its ver­dict on the bail pe­ti­tions of Unitech pro­moter San­jay Chan­dra, Vinod Goenka of DB Realty and Hari Nair, Suren­dra Pi­para and Gau­tam Doshi of Re­liance Tele­com, other ac­cused in the 2G case. This judg­ment will come any day. The 2G trial be­gins in the Saini’s court on Novem­ber11.


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