New Delhi, February 17: The Supreme Court (SC) has decried demands for “keeping everybody in jails”, stating that the criminal jurisprudence in the country needs a correction yet again.
“We don’t understand what is happening to the jurisprudence in this country. Everybody wants everybody to remain in jail. Nobody should come out on bail, ever. What is this?” asked an SC bench, headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, earlier this month, the Hindustan Times reported. It recently came across several such cases relating to bail.
On January 18, the bench, which also included justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy, gave bail to an accused who was behind the bars in connection with a Goods and Services Tax evasion case.
Additional solicitor general (ASG) SV Raju opposed the plea for bail, arguing there was siphoning of ₹21 crore and that the money belonged to the nation. But the court said it failed to understand why somebody should be kept incarcerated in a case of GST evasion where most of the evidence would be documentary. The bench also noted that the accused was remanded to police custody for the maximum period of 15 days, but the police still wanted him in jail.
“Let us keep jurisprudence to what it was – bail is the rule and jail is an exception. We must correct our jurisprudence again,” the bench told ASG Raju on January 18, as it released the accused on a regular bail even though the initial plea before the top court was for an interim bail on medical grounds.
Similarly, there was a petition for cancellation of bail in a case registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. The bench was amused to learn that the appeal was being filed after a delay of almost two years.
Additional solicitor general KM Nataraj sought to explain the delay and also the fact that the cancellation was being sought since the quantity involved was commercial in nature. But the bench was unmoved.
“If it was such a serious matter, why did you take 617 days to file an appeal? Now that man is already out and you want this court to send him back to jail. But there are no good reasons you have shown to us. Why should everyone be in jail?” asked the court as it dismissed the appeal by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) by an order last month.
Earlier this month, another petition came up for hearing before the Justice Kaul-led bench in a cheating case where the man had been given bail but the complainant wanted it cancelled. The court observed that it was “worried to see how people wanted everyone behind bars”.
It summarily rejected the plea, saying: “So, according to you, everyone should be in jail till the time the trial is over. Nobody should be given bail. What has happened to the jurisprudence that we had? It needs a correction.”