New Delhi, Nov 15: The Supreme Court today decided to examine an alleged new trend of denial of bail in high profile cases contrary to the settled judicial dictum which says “bail is the rule and jail an exception.”
A three-judge bench of justices Altamas Kabir, S S Nijjar and J Chelameshwar agreed to delve into the controversial issue after senior counsel Ranjit Kumar and Mukul Rohatgi complained that courts in recent times have been routinely rejecting bail in violation of Fundamental Right of Life and Personal Liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Appearing for Ashok Kumar Sinha, an associate of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, Kumar submitted that the accused has been in jail for past two years despite the minimum sentence for offences, allegedly committed by him, was merely three years and the maximum seven years.
He told the bench that of late trial courts were not granting bail as some of these cases “are media-driven and judges are afraid of their confidential reports”.
The senior counsel alleged the media was virtually pre-judging several issues before courts and tending to influence the conduct of judges.
He said hitherto all principles relating to grant of bail in cases of imprisonment ranging from five to seven years were not being followed by trial court judges.
Kumar said a serious issue has arisen as a result of denial of bail to the accused who also have Fundamental Rights and it was time that at least a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court should clearly lay down the law “so that rights of the accused are not trampled upon.”