Denying Bail For Offence Yet To Be Investigated Merely Because Accused Is Habitual Offender Is “Unjust”: Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court has ruled that holding someone in jail for an unsolved crime simply because they are alleged to be habitual offenders or have criminal antecedents is ‘unjust.’ 

In the case of Injamam Shariff vs State of Karnataka (Criminal Petition No.4045/2022), a single judge bench led by Honourable Justice M Nagaprasanna made the observation while allowing the petition filed by one Injamam Shariff and granting him bail. The accused was detained on charges of violating sections 397 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code. 

According to the facts of the case, a complaint was  filed by T.S.Manoj on February 25, 2012, stating that two unknown persons arrived on a motorcycle, grabbed his collar, and threatened him with a knife. At the same time, the other individual grabbed his phone. 

The petitioner was arrested by the police on 02-03-2022, about a week after the complaint was filed, and he has been in judicial custody since then. The accused applied to the Sessions Judge for bail. However, the application was denied after the State raised objections, claiming that the petitioner was a habitual offender with criminal antecedents who was likely to commit another crime if released on bail. 

The allegations against him are baseless, according to the petitioner, and the phone has not been recovered from him. 

The prosecution opposed the plea, claiming that the matter is under investigation and that the petitioner was apprehended on the grounds that he has criminal antecedents and is a habitual offender while the investigation was underway. If he is released on bail, he will almost certainly commit the same crime that he has already committed. 

“The reasoning rendered by the learned Sessions Judge is fundamentally flawed,” the bench said after reviewing the facts of the case. “There is no recovery of the phone made from the petitioner’s hands,” it continued. Despite the fact that the matter is still under investigation and a FIR has been filed against unknown persons, the petitioner’s continued detention for an offence that has yet to be investigated is unjust. There isn’t even any preliminary evidence against the petitioner.” 

As a result, it granted bail on a personal bond of Rs.50,000 with one solvent surety for the same amount, subject to the satisfaction of the trial court. Other conditions were also imposed. 

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