Cash-for-votes ac­cused are out of jail. Now, SC will take up the ques­tion of bail as a mat­ter of right. ON NOVEM­BER 15, A THREE-JUDGE BENCH OF THE SUPREME COURT AGREED TO EX­AM­INE THE LARGER IS­SUE OF DE­NIAL OF BAIL IN HIGH-PRO­FILE CASES.

India Today - - NATION - By Bhavna Vij-aurora

Grant of bail to BJP ide­o­logue and former L.K. Ad­vani aide Sud­heen­dra Kulka­rni, two former party MPS Fag­gan Singh Ku­laste and Ma­habir Singh Bhagora, and sit­ting MP Ashok Ar­gal in the 2008 cash-for-votes scam on Novem­ber 16 by Delhi High Court au­gurs well for high-pro­file ac­cused in jail, in­clud­ing those locked up in the 2G spec­trum case. The mood of the ju­di­ciary seems to be chang­ing, with the set­tled dic­tum of “bail is the rule and jail an ex­cep­tion’’ be­com­ing a mat­ter of pub­lic dis­course.

It is be­ing de­bated now if re­jec­tion of bail vi­o­lates the fun­da­men­tal right to life and per­sonal lib­erty guar­an­teed un­der Ar­ti­cle 21 of the Con­sti­tu­tion. On Novem­ber 15, the Supreme Court agreed to ex­am­ine the larger is­sue of de­nial of bail in high-pro­file cases. A bench of Jus­tices Al­ta­mas Kabir, S.S. Ni­j­jar and Jasti Che­lameswar ac­cepted the plea of se­nior coun­sel Ran­jit Ku­mar and Mukul Ro­htagi ques­tion­ing whether trial courts and high courts

could deny bail in such cases sim­ply on the ground of “grav­ity of of­fence”. The bench agreed to hear the larger is­sue of bail on Jan­uary 18, 2012.

Ku­mar pointed out that of late, trial courts had not been grant­ing bail in high-pro­file cases, some of which “are me­dia-driven” and “judges are afraid of the confidential re­ports needed for pro­mo­tion’’. With Ro­htagi, Ku­mar was ap­pear­ing for Ashok K. Sinha, an as­so­ci­ate of the former Jhark­hand chief min­is­ter Madhu Koda, de­tained for of­fences un­der the Pre­ven­tion of Money Laun­der­ing Act and the In­dian Pe­nal Code.

Ku­mar ar­gued that his client had been in jail for more than two years, whereas the min­i­mum sen­tence for the al­leged of­fence was three years and the max­i­mum, seven years. In Sinha’s case, though the chargesheet against him had been filed more than a year ago, the trial was yet to start and he had been de­nied bail. “A se­ri­ous sit­u­a­tion has arisen as a re­sult of de­nial of bail to the ac­cused, who also have fun­da­men­tal rights,’’ Ku­mar said, adding that it was time that the Supreme Court clearly laid down the law “so that rights of the ac­cused are not tram­pled upon’’.

Though se­nior ad­vo­cate Raju Ra­machan­dran feels that it is “pre­ma­ture’’ to say that the mood of the ju­di­ciary is chang­ing to­wards bail, his col­league K.T.S. Tulsi says that “it is def­i­nitely the be­gin­ning of a cor­rec­tion’’. Ac­cord­ing to Tulsi, not grant­ing bail is an aber­ra­tion which has to be cor­rected. “It has de­railed the process of jus­tice,’’ he adds. Asked whether the 2G spec­trum scam ac­cused should get their hopes up, he says that un­til the Supreme Court gives its judg­ment on bail, the lower courts are not likely to oblige.

A Supreme Court bench of Jus­tices G.S. Singhvi and H.L. Dattu had on Novem­ber 1 re­served its or­der on the bail plea of five 2G scam ac­cused, in­clud­ing Unitech Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor San­jay Chan­dra, DB Realty Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Vinod Goenka as well as Re­liance ADAG ex­ec­u­tives Hari Nair, Gau­tam Doshi and Suren­dra Pi­para.



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