While quashing a lower court’s order canceling the bail of a murder accused, the Punjab and Haryana High Court last week observed that the imprisonment of the accused before his/her conviction becomes a sort of punishment in view of abysmally low rate of conviction in our country.
The bench of Justice Jagmohan Bansal also observed that life of every human being is most precious gift of God and everyone has very limited span of life which cannot be spoiled on account of incompetence, personal grudge, vengeance of someone; or brutal, illegal, unethical action of the State machinery.
“Except habitual offender, commoners living simple life after arrest lose self-respect and confidence within himself as well State. It has become very common to put criminal law in motion even though dispute involved is purely contractual or civil in nature. Many times arrest entails deprivation of source of income of entire family besides forever stigma in a closely knit society like ours,” the Court further remarked.
Significantly, the Court also said that there is neither mechanism to compensate a man who is later on found innocent nor acquittal can return valuable time, energy, status, future of family members especially children which is lost on account of incarceration of bread earner of the family.
These observation were made by the Court while dealing with the plea moved by Harinder Singh @ Harry (booked under Section 365 IPC, 302, 328, 201 r/w 34 IPC and Section 21 of NDPS Act), seeking quashing of an order of the Additional Sessions Judge, Ludhiana whereby bail bonds furnished by him were cancelled and non-bailable warrants of arrest were issued against him.
It was his primary submission that the an FIR was registered against him in 2017 in the matter, and in May this year, he got a bail order from the High Court, however, due to his non-appearance in the Ludhiana trial court, the court issued non-bailable warrants against him. He also submitted that he is ready to appear in the trial court on the next hearing.
Against this backdop, and noting that the object of cancellation of bond or declaration of anyone as proclaimed offender/person is to secure his presence and that the petitioner had himself come forward to face trial and undertook to appear before trial court on each and every date, the Court went ahead to allow his petition.
The Court directed him to appear before Trial Court on December 9, 2022 and furnish fresh bail bond/surety bond to its satisfaction. However, a cost of Rs. 10,000/- was imposed upon him to be paid to the District Legal Services Authority, Ludhiana for wasting valuable time and energy of courts as well prosecution.
Case title – Harinder Singh @ Harry v. State of Punjab [CRM-M-51476-2022]