Allahabad High Court denies bail to murder accused, says hardened criminals exploiting loopholes in legal proceedings to evade full force of law

The Allahabad High Court while rejecting the bail application said that an alarming trend has emerged where hardened criminals exploit loopholes in legal proceedings, capitalize on ambiguities, procedural errors, or inadequacies in legislation to evade the full force of the law. Whether through technicalities, or delays, these individuals navigate a legal landscape that inadvertently provides them with opportunities to escape justice.

A Single Bench of Justice Krishan Pahal passed this order while hearing a Criminal Misc Bail Application filed by Bharat Singh.

This is the second bail application on behalf of the applicant. The first Bail Application has been dismissed by the Court as not pressed vide order dated 21.02.2023.

Applicant seeks bail in Case under Sections 147, 148, 149, 302, 307, 506 and 120-B, Police Station Sector- Nawabad, District Jhansi, during the pendency of trial.

The FIR was instituted by Sanchit Verma, son of Sanjay Verma, stating therein that on 21.7.2018 at about 11:00 A.M he along with his father had gone to Court. His father had to attend his case in the Court of District Judge, Jhansi, and Civil Judge (Junior Division), Jhansi. At about 1:30 P.M, his father left the Court premises in his Pajero Sports Car, which was being driven by Ravi Varma. His father was accompanied by his guards Jai Goswami and Sunil Kushwaha.

In the meantime, after about two minutes, it was observed that the car was being followed by a motorcycle driven by Ajay Sony. Near a temple, a truck was found parked along with a loader. Hiding behind the said vehicles, the accused persons namely, Sonu Geda, Rinku Geda, Bobi Geda, Angad Gurjar, Prahlad Gurjar, Udham Gurjar, Rajendra Gurjar, Shivam Gurjar and Pushpendra Gurjar, came out with firearm weapons and started firing indiscriminately at the passengers in the car, which hit the driver of the vehicle resulting in it colliding with the loader and truck. The father of the informant and the persons seated in the vehicle sustained life threatening gunshot wounds.

The assailants sped away on motorcycles firing in the air. The injured persons were rushed to Medical College Jhansi, where they are being treated and doctors have declared Jai Goswami dead. The accused persons, namely, Rinku Geda, Sonu Geda, Sardar Singh and others, had earlier caused the death of the uncle of the informant Ajay Verma and were convicted in it. The said conviction was sustained by the High Court, Allahabad and even the petition filed by Man Singh was dismissed by the Supreme Court. The aforesaid accused persons had earlier on also failed in attempt to commit murder of the father of the informant several times.

The F.I.R was instituted at the police station at 09:57 P.M the same night.

The Court observed that,

The phrase “Bail is the rule and Jail is an exception” underscores the principle that individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty. In this context, “jail as an exception” refers to the situations where a person’s pre-trial liberty is restricted due to specific circumstances. These exceptions might include concerns about flight risk, potential danger to the community, the likelihood of the accused tampering with evidence, or possibility of repeating offence. Essentially, while bail is generally favoured to ensure the presumption of innocence, exceptions exist when there are compelling reasons to detain someone before trial.

The criminal justice system is designed to maintain order, protect citizens, and ensure that wrongdoers face consequences for their actions. The exploitation of legal loopholes undermines public confidence in the criminal justice system. Victims may feel betrayed, and communities may lose faith in the ability of the legal framework to protect them. Additionally, this phenomenon perpetuates a cycle of crime, as criminals observe and learn from successful manoeuvres within the legal system.

The Court further observed that,

Striking a balance between efficiency and justice remains a challenging aspect of legal proceedings. Taking the issue of hardened criminals exploiting legal loopholes is crucial for upholding the principles of justice and maintaining public trust in the legal system, through proactive legal reforms, technological advancements, and ongoing professional development, we can create a more resilient framework that minimizes opportunities for criminals to escape accountability. It is imperative that society remains vigilant in its pursuit of a fair and effective criminal justice system.

The applicant was convicted for the murder of the brother of one of the victims of the incident and the same is the motive for committing the offence. He is a previous convict in two other cases. Here the long criminal history of the applicant is an important factor which goes against him.

The case falls in the category of “exception” as mentioned in the old saying “Bail is the rule, and Jail is an exception”. Hence, the bail to the applicant is declined and is, accordingly, rejected by the High Court.

However, the Court directed that the aforesaid case pending before the trial court be decided expeditiously as early as possible in view of the principle as has been laid down in the recent judgments of the Apex Court in the cases of Vinod Kumar vs State of Punjab; 2015 (3) SCC 220 and Hussain and Another vs Union of India; (2017) 5 SCC 702, if there is no legal impediment.

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