Read Order: Jai Narain vs State of Haryana
Chandigarh, August 19, 2021: Mere custody period of the petitioner in itself cannot be a sole ground for enlarging him on bail, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has said while declining to grant bail sought on the grounds that the accused was in custody for four years and the trial was progressing slowly.
The case pertains to one Jai Narain facing charges for murder, attempt to murder, rioting and other offences under the Indian penal Code (IPC) and the Arms Act, 1959 on the basis of an FIR registered on September 1, 2017 at Gharaunda police station in Karnal district.
The complainant is the wife of a man allegedly shot dead by the petitioner. She claimed that on August 31, 2017, she and her husband (now deceased) asked by Ashok Kumar Sarpanch not to harvest the crop standing on the land otherwise they will be shot dead. But when the husband of the complainant and her son went to harvest the Bajra crop, the petitioner armed with double barrel gun along with
other armed co-accused attacked them.
The complainant stated that the petitoner fired 5-6 gun shots after which she suffered a fire arm injury on the right elbow and while her husband suffered a bullet injury in his chest and died. Other accused also inflicted injuries with weapons such as lathies, etc. As per the allegations, a number of injuries were inflicted by the aggressor on the complainant party.
During the hearing, the counsel for the petitioner sought bail by submitting that the petitioner is in custody for the last four years and the trial is not progressing.
The State counsel, however, vehemently opposed the grant of regular
bail and submitted that the petitioner and the complainant belong to the same
village and if enlarged on bail, there is every chance of petitioner influencing
the witnesses. She further submitted that bail of the co-accused Jai Bhagwan was rejected by the High Court.
The State counsel argued that out of 43 prosecution witnesses, 24 already stand examined and inspite of Covid-19 situation, earnest effort are being made to examine the prosecution witnesses at the earliest.
After hearing the arguments, the bench of Justice Avneesh Jhingan said that considering the nature of allegations and the gravity of offence, as also the fact that the complainant and the petitioner belong to same village, no case is made out for grant of regular bail.
“Mere custody period of the petitioner in itself cannot be a sole ground for enlarging him on bail,” the judge said, adding that it is not a case where the trial is not progressing at all.
“Due to Covid-19 situation, for almost more than 1 1/2 years, the things were not moving at normal speed. As per State counsel an effort would be made to conclude the prosecution evidence expeditiously,” the Bench noted.
The Bench thus dismissed the petition while clarifying that the observations made in the order shall not be construed as an expression of opinion on the merits of the case.