Himachal Pradesh High Court Reiterates that Bail Is Rule and Jail Is an Exception

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The Petitioner in the present case, Tanishque Uppal v State of Himachal Pradesh, is accused of Theft with other relevant sections of IPC related to theft. He was taken into custody for the same. Subsequently, he filed for a bail petition which was allowed by the Court. The Coram constituted of Justice Sandeep Sharma.

Brief Facts of the Case

On 8th July 2020, the petitioner was booked under section 451, 382, 323, 506, and 34 of the Indian Penal Court and was arrested. The petitioner has been accused of House-trespass, Theft with preparation for causing death, hurt or restraint, voluntarily causing hurt, criminal intimidation, and doing an act in furtherance of common intention. Subsequently, the petitioner filed for bail and was out on interim bail on 21st August 2020. 

The petitioner, through an instant petition, has filed for bail in the case.

Arguments before the Court

The learned advocate general stated that the Petitioner was cooperating with the investigation in pursuance of the order where the petitioner was granted bail.

He agreed and supported the bail of the petitioner because the petitioner should cooperate with the investigation and be present whenever required. 

Observations of the Court​ 

The court referred to precedents given by the Supreme Court which have deliberated on synonymous disputes. The court quoted the case of  Dataram Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr. The case observed that the accused is innocent until proven guilty and that freedom of an indicted individual cannot be abridged for an uncertain period.

In Prasanta Kumar Sarkar v. Ashis Chatterjee and Another (2010) 14 SCC 496, it held that bail of the Petitioner has to be decided by looking at the state of the investigation, circumstances, and evidence and not the severity of the charge alone. It stated that the nature of accusations, the nature of evidence in support, and the character of the accused must also be taken into account. 

The court also quoted the cases of Sanjay Chandra v the Central Bureau of Investigation (2012) and Manoranjana Sinh Alias Gupta v CBI 2017 (5) SCC 218. The precedent carried an identical opinion. In that, the court observed that the Accused is innocent until found guilty. Thus, he should get treated like an innocent individual until he is convicted, under Law. 

It started that “the object of bail is to secure the appearance of the accused person at his trial by a reasonable amount of bail i.e if the bail should be refused only when it is apprehended that the accused will flee from justice if granted bail.”

The bail is not meant to be punitive or preventive. Bail cannot be used as a punishment. 

Lastly, the precedents held that holding the accused in custody for an indefinite period is against Article 21 of the Constitution.

Judgment

Based on aforesaid facts, the court allowed the petition. Further, the petitioner was ordered to adhere to strict conditions for bail.

First, he has to cooperate and have to be present whenever needed for the investigation. Second, he should not tamper with any evidence, or influence the investigation in their support. Third, the court has to be kept updated about his whereabouts. Lastly, he cannot leave the country.


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