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Purpose of detaining accused person is to secure attendance, not punishment: High Court of Uttarakhand

Detaining someone who has not been convicted by a competent court would compromise on the personal liberty which Indian law guarantees. This is why bail should be granted to the accused in most cases, unless he is likely to flee or not attend court upon being summoned. A judgement passed by a single member bench consisting of Justice Alok Kumar Varma of the High Court of Uttarakhand in the case of Rajan Singh v State of Uttarakhand [First Bail Application No. 2091 of 2020] on the 8th of June 2021 addressed the issue of granting bail.

An FIR was lodged by the informant Indrajeet Singh on 6th December 2019 over the theft of his LED Television, jewellery, mobile phone, pass-book, passport, educational certificates and clothes after his house was broken into while he and his family were away. Rajan Singh, the applicant was arrested as the suspect along with four Aadhaar cards and a vehicle with a modified number plate. The applicant’s counsel submitted that there was no witness to the crimes, the applicant had not been arrested on the spot of the crime and that he has been falsely arrested. It was added that the applicant remained in custody since 24th July 2020 despite not being convicted by any court and that there was no scope for the applicant to tamper with any evidence or manipulate the outcome of the case pending against him since the charge-sheet had already been filed.

Justice Alok Kumar Varma noted that bail should be the rule and committal to jail the exception so refusal of bail was a restriction on the personal liberty of the individual, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. It was further pointed out that “the object of keeping the accused person in detention during the trial is not punishment. The main purpose is manifestly to secure the attendance of the accused”.

The judgement concluded that “Having considered the submissions of learned counsel for both the parties and in the facts and circumstances of the case, there is no reason to keep the applicant behind the bars for an indefinite period, therefore, without expressing any opinion as to the merits of the case, this Court is of the view that the applicant deserves bail at this stage” and that that without expressing any opinion as to the merits of the case, the bail application would be allowed.

Click here for the judgement

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