The Supreme Court on May 17, 2023, issued a notice in the Special Leave Petition filed by the State of West Bengal challenging the order of the Calcutta High Court which granted bail on the sole ground of incarceration of 651 days to a man accused of a gruesome offence of murder and beheading the victim.

The Bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha, and Justice J.B. Pardiwala issued a notice in the SLP filed and made it returnable by the first week of July. The CJI said "We will make it returnable by the first week of July" and adjourned the matter for July 4, 2023.

Appearing for the State of West Bengal, Advocate-on-Record Anando Mukherjee submitted before the Court that "The Hon’ble High Court vide its non-reasoned & non-speaking Impugned Order has enlarged the Respondent on Bail who has been accused of a serious and gruesome offence of murder and beheading the victim, on the sole ground of his long period of incarceration of 651 days"

In the SLP filed against the order of the Calcutta High Court at Jalpaiguri, it is alleged that the bail was erroneously granted to the Respondent Accused herein in connection under Sections 302/201/34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’) and the sole ground before the High Court was long incarceration of 651 days while it was the respondent himself who had been inducing delays in the Trial.

In the present case, the Deceased’s body was found beheaded in two parts with the head stuffed in the Deceased’s helmet, along with two pieces of blood-stained rope with signs of foul play and murder. During the investigation, it was found that the Respondent Accused had throughout been in contact with the other Co-Accused at the time of the incident and was last to be in contact with the Deceased. Further, it was found that there was a personal enmity between the Deceased and the Respondent Accused herein, owing to a land dispute.

The Respondent Accused's bail application was rejected by the Sessions Court but was later granted bail by the Calcutta High Court challenging which the State of West Bengal approached the Apex Court. The State has contended in the Appeal that it is a settled position of law that an Accused cannot be granted bail solely on the ground of his long incarceration, especially in cases of heinous crimes as present ones, and has to take into account other facts and circumstances, such as the interest of the society.

"The charge sheet has already been filed, and the Trial has been proceedings with witnesses being examined, however, with necessary witnesses yet to be examined, the Hon’ble High Court ought not to have granted bail to the Respondent herein, especially in light of the heinous crime committed." the plea read.

In the order passed by the Bench of Justice Raj Chattopadhyay and Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharya of the Calcutta High Court at Jalpaiguri, it was noted that "keeping in the view circumstances and in particular the long incarceration already suffered by the petitioner, we are inclined to grant bail to the petitioner." The High Court also observed that the petitioner shall not approach the vicinity of the victim's house during the entire period of trial.

Cause Title: The State Of West Bengal v. Md. Dimel @ Dimal [SLP(Crl) No. 006330 - / 2023]

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