DC Edit | SC: Can’t invade privacy for bail

Recent rulings underscore the Supreme Court's commitment to Article 21, emphasizing fair trial rights and opposing punitive bail conditions
Back-to-back judgments by the Supreme Court asserting that bail cannot be denied to one accused of a crime pre-emptively under regular circumstances and that bail conditions should not infringe upon a person’s liberty cannot end up offering justice only to the individuals concerned but need to be made part of jurisprudence.

The latest in the series of these is the apex court’s order that set aside a bail condition that the defendant should allow police access to technological tools so that they can continuously monitor his movements. The court insisted that there cannot be a condition defeating the very objective of the bail. Curiously, it was introduced by a high court.

This apex court order follows an earlier one in which it was said that the prosecution should not oppose bail if it cannot guarantee a speedy trial irrespective of the nature of the charges against the accused.

The Supreme Court has consistently taken a stand that goes in line with Article 21 of the Constitution which mandates that no person shall be deprived of their life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. Unfortunately, the executive has found ways to deny this right to the citizen by, among other tricks, making the process itself the punishment, but also by making the citizen pay for the inefficacies of the system, often with their life. The judiciary, especially at the lower level, plays ball, and the result is that lakhs spend years in jail with no charge proven against them.

This must change. The legislatures and the judiciary must wake up to Article 21 and make necessary amends in the law so that only those who are convicted of a crime or whose bail would prove to be an impediment to a fair trial are kept inside jails. If the system has loopholes, it must plug them itself rather than impose their costs on the people.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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