bail hammer

If the accused is prepared to adhere to the conditions set out by the Court, then bail cannot be refused otherwise. It is indisputable that bail could not be withheld as a punishment. : High Court of Meghalaya

It is well settled that the object of bail is to secure the attendance of the accused at the trial as upheld by the High Court of Meghalaya through the learned bench lead by Justice W. Diengdoh in the case of Shri. Benkelbin Nongrum Vs. State of Meghalaya (BA. No. 8 of 2021).

The brief facts of the case are that the applicant has stated that an FIR was lodged by the complainant Smti. Wandamon Sari alleging that the accused person has sexually assaulted her minor daughter. On the strength of the said FIR, a case under Section 5(1)/6 POCSO Act was registered and the accused person was arrested and is still in judicial custody till date. It is also stated that the investigation has been completed and the I/O has accordingly filed the charge sheet and has come to the 2 conclusion that during the course of investigation, a prima facie case u/s 5(1)/6 POCSO Act is found well established against the accused person and he is sent to stand trial before the court.

Mr. K.Ch. Gautam, learned counsel for the applicant submitted that the main thrust of the argument on behalf of the accused is that he was denied the opportunity to be granted default bail as the records would show that the accused was arrested on 02.01.2021 and was in judicial custody since then. Learned counsel cited the case of M. Ravindran v. Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence: ( 2021) 2 SCC 485 and has submitted that at the relevant period, the I/O has failed to file the charge sheet before the Court before the statutory period, however the fact that the accused was entitled to default bail was never informed to him either by the Court or even by his erstwhile counsel and being ignorant of this fact, the accused was deprived of being given the opportunity to provide bail.

Mr. S. Sengupta, learned Addl. Sr. G.A. appearing on behalf of the State Respondent has submitted that since the case involving the accused has already been charge sheeted, there being no fresh circumstances, therefore bail at this stage may not be allowed.

Having heard the learned counsels, the Hon’ble Court held, “The Investigation is completed as the charge sheet was filed before the Court in due course. The stage of the case is for supply of copies to the accused. Under the circumstances, this Court is of the considered opinion that the accused is entitled to bail to allow him to defend his case during trial without the shackles of custodial detention. Accordingly, this application is hereby allowed and the accused is hereby enlarged on bail

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Judgment reviewed by Vandana Ragwani

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