New Delhi: Observing that a balance is required to be maintained between the personal liberty of the accused and the investigative rights of the agency, the Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to Lt. Col. Shrikant Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case.
Granting bail, taking into consideration that Col. Purohit is in jail for eight years and eight months, a bench of Justices R.K. Agrawal and A.M. Sapre said there must be minimum interference with the liberty of the accused and the right of the agency to investigate the case.
The bench said, “The grant or denial of bail is regulated, to a large extent, by the facts and circumstances of each particular case.”
But at the same time, right to bail is not to be denied merely because of the sentiments of the community against the accused. It set aside the judgement of the Bom-bay High Court, which in April released co-accused Sadvi Pragya Thakur on bail but refused to grant bail to Col. Purohit. Writing the judgement, Justice Agra-wal said, “The law in regard to grant or refusal of bail is very well settled.”
Discrepancies in charges, says SC
It set aside the judgement of the Bombay High court which refused to grant bail to Col. Purohit.
The Supreme Court bench of Justices R.K. Agrawal and A.M. Sapre said, “The court granting bail should exercise its discretion in a judicious manner and not as a matter of course. Though at the stage of granting bail a detailed examination of evidence and elaborate documentation of the merit of the case need not be undertaken, there is a need to indicate in such orders reasons for prima facie concluding why bail was being granted particularly where the accused is charged of having committed a serious offence.”
The bench said any order devoid of such reasons would suffer from non-application of mind. It pointed out that there are material contradictions in the chargesheets filed by the ATS Mumbai and the NIA which are required to be tested at the time of trial and this Court cannot pick or choose one version over the other.
The bench said there are variations in the chargesheets filed by ATS Mumbai and NIA. Further, the appellant herein, who was at the relevant time was an Intelligence officer of the Indian Army has refuted the claim of conspiracy on the ground of Intelligence inputs which he informed to his superior officers as well and the alleged role of ATS officials in the planting of RDX at the residence of co-accused (A-11).
“However, keeping in view the fact that NIA has submitted the chargesheet which is at variance with the chargesheet filed by the ATS and that the trial is likely to take a long time and the appellant has been in prison for about 8 years and 8 months,” the bench said before granting bail....