The Punjab and Haryana High Court granted bail to a man accused of kidnapping a minor girl.

The accused had informed the parents of a missing minor girl that the girl had jumped into the canal and that she might have died.

Based on the information given by the accused, the parents of the minor girl lodged an FIR against the accused and he was taken into custody for offences committed under Sections 363 and 365 of IPC.

The accused presented CCTV footage photographs where the minor girl was seen alive and wandering freely sitting on a pillion seat of an Activa.

The Court expressed shock over the "high handedness and incompetency" of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) which conducted the inquiry. The court concluded that the SIT, which submitted a report countering CCTV footage, failed to vigilantly examine photographs showing the minor girl alive. The court also remarked that the SIT did not even take possession of relevant CCTV DVRs for investigation.

A Single Bench of Justice Sandeep Moudgil observed, “Suffice to hold that trial will take certainly long time for which the petitioner cannot be kept behind bars for an indefinite period, as it would amount to infringement of his right to life and liberty, as enshrined under Article 21 of Constitution of India and also against the principle bail is a rule and jail is an exception

Advocate Jagjeet Singh represented the petitioner, while AAG Anmol Singh Sandhu appeared for the respondent.

The Court remarked, “According to the custody certificate, the petitioner is behind the bars for the last 1 year, 2 months and 3 days. At this stage, learned State counsel points out that the Investigating Officer namely ASI Dalbir Singh, who is present in Court alongwith the complete case file, is unable to explain and assist him with regard to the photographs and CCTV footage as to how these were examined and tested while presenting the challan in the Court.

The Court granted bail to the accused and directed the Senior Superintendent of Police to present an explanation and an affidavit to show the progress of the investigation.

Cause Title: Aman v. State of Punjab (2024:PHHC:004984)

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