Deprivation Of Personal Liberty Without Ensuring Speedy Trial Violates Article 21: Bombay HC While Releasing Murder Accused On Bail
The Bombay High Court held that if an accused has already undergone a significant period of time of the proposed sentence, then the courts are ordinarily obligated to grant him bail.
The Court granted bail and noted that the Applicant was incarcerated for seven and a half years while his co-accused was granted bail. The Court emphasized that denial of personal freedom without a speedy trial violates the rights enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Justice Bharati Danger observed, “Deprivation of personal liberty, without ensuring speedy trial, is not in consonance with Article 21 of the Constitution. Access to justice and speedy trial has been well recognised as hallmark of liberty guaranteed in Part III of the Constitution and when a timely trial is not possible, the accused cannot be made to suffer further incarceration, if he has already undergone significant period of the proposed sentence and in such circumstances, the Court would ordinarily be obligated to enlarge him on bail, keeping aside the seriousness of the accusations faced by him”.
Advocate Sana Rees Khan appeared for the Applicant and Additional Public Prosecutor SR Anarkar appeared for the State/Respondent.
The Applicant was arrested under Sections 302, 342, 201 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and was facing trial before the Sessions Court. The Applicant approached the Court seeking bail as his earlier application was rejected but his co-accused was granted bail.
The Court held that the Applicant should be released on bail. The Court emphasized that an individual cannot be incarcerated for an indefinite period of time during the pendency of a trial as it clearly violates the fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution.
The Court further emphasized that while the seriousness and heinousness of an offence are relevant factors when considering bail for an accused, it's equally important to weigh the extended incarceration of an under-trial. The Court reiterated that a prolonged detention without trial goes against constitutional rights and has consistently been recognized as a justiciable reason to grant an accused person their freedom during the trial process.
“The seriousness of an offence and it's heinous nature may be one aspect, which deserve a consideration while exercising the discretion to release an accused on bail, but at the same time, the factor of long incarceration of an accused as under-trail prisoner also deserve its due weightage. Pending the trial, a person cannot be kept in custody for an indefinite period of time and it clearly violate the fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution and time and again, has been considered to be a justiciable ground to exercise the discretion to release an accused”, the Court noted.
Accordingly, the Court allowed the Bail Application.
Cause Title: Akash Satish v State of Maharashtra