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The fundamental postulate of criminal jurisprudence is the presumption of innocence, that is ‘A person is believed to be innocent until found guilty’: High Court of Kerala

A person is believed to be innocent until found guilty and it would be contrary to the concept of personal liberty if any person should be punished before conviction under any circumstances, upon the belief that he will tamper with the witnesses if left at liberty and same was upheld by High Court of Kerala through the learned bench led by HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE RAJA VIJAYARAGHAVAN V in the case of ANEESHKUTTY v. STATE OF KERALA (BAIL APPL. NO. 2722 OF 2022) on 12th April, 2022.

Facts of the case are that Shajila was a 42 year old married woman whose husband was working abroad. She had two children aged 17 years and 8 years respectively. The prosecution alleges that the petitioner used to constantly harass the lady, abuse her and hurl threats as she did not agree to his request to have a relationship. On 11.12.2019, Shajila came out of her home to see off her children, who were on their way to school, the petitioner came there on a bike and picked up an altercation with the lady. He had carried weapons and chilly powder with him. When Shajila thwarted his advances, he got down from his bike pushed her down and with the sharp cutting knife, which he had in his possession, inflicted as many as 40 injuries on the lady.

Learned counsel for petitioner submitted that as is evident from the order passed by the Session court, the trial could not be commenced as the Material Objects are yet to be analyzed by the Forensic Science Laboratory and the director has reported that the examination can be expedited but he has not given a time frame. The petitioner is suffering from severe psychiatric disease, a painful skin ailment known as Psoriasis Vulgaris and has also been diagnosed with Grade-II Haemorrhoids. An enquiry was conducted by the learned Sessions Judge under sections 329 and 330 of the CrPC and after examining the witnesses, it was found that the medical insanity of the accused is prima facie proved. As the legal insanity of the accused can be considered only at the stage of the trial, it would be a travesty of justice to keep a mentally insane person in prison. His mother and near relatives are prepared to take care of the petitioner and unless he is released on bail, it would not be possible for them to provide good medical care and attention.

Public Prosecutor submitted that that steps can be taken to expedite the examination of the Material Objects so that trial can be commenced without delay and that the best possible medical care is being given to the petitioner. Relying on the order passed by the learned Sessions Judge, he submitted that the petitioner is fit to stand trial and there is no reason to show any leniency to the petitioner. He denied that the condition of the petitioner is in such bad shape that he requires constant care and attention from his family members. He further submitted that if the petitioner is released on bail, he may intimidate the witnesses and thwart the course of justice.

In  view of the judgment in State of Kerala v. Raneef [(2011) 1 SCC 784], where it was held that when under-trial prisoners are detained in jail custody for an indefinite period due to the delay in concluding the trial, Article 21 of the Constitution is violated. Court held that the further detention of the petitioner in custody is not necessary. He can now be granted bail by imposing stringent conditions.

Click here to read the Judgment

Judgment reviewed by – Amit Singh

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