Can’t keep accused in custody just to send message to society: Delhi HC

The court rejected Delhi police’s contention that releasing the accused on bail would send a wrong message to society. The court noted that the accused was among 2 people arrested for a crime committed by about 300 people.


The Delhi High Court, while granting bail to a person accused of burning a shop during the North east Delhi riots of February, held that the court cannot deny bail to someone for ‘sending a message to society’. The single judge bench of Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani held that if the court is otherwise convinced that no purpose in aid of investigation and prosecution will be served by keeping the accused in judicial custody.

The court rejected the contention of the police that granting bail at such an early stage may send an adverse message in society. The court held thus,

“The remit of the court is to dispense justice in accordance with law, not to send messages to society. It is this sentiment, whereby the State demands that undertrials be kept in prison inordinately without any purpose, that leads to overcrowding of jails; and leaves undertrials with the inevitable impression that they are being punished even before trial and therefore being treated unfairly by the system.”

The court further added that if at the end of the trial if the accused is not proven guilty, the State cannot give back to the accused the years of valuable life lost in prison as an undertrial. On the other hand, if the accused is in fact guilty, he will anyway serve the given sentence in prison.

The court granted bail to the accused on the condition that he furnishes a personal bond of Rs. 50,000 and two sureties of the same amount from his relatives and directed him to not leave NCR without the permission of the police.

He was taken into custody on April 3 after an FIR was lodged against him at Dayalpur Police station for offences of rioting and mischief by fire or explosive substance with an intent to destroy a house.

The contention of the accused was that he was not named in the FIR and neither was he identified by the complainant whose shop was burnt down during the riots. The police refuted saying that the accused was identified by a constable who was present at the crime scene and is also identified in the CCTV footage.

The court said that it would not have entered into discussions on evidence at this stage but this was a case where an assembly of 250-300 persons have committed an offence and the police have arrested only two. The court said that it is only sifting the evidence prima facie and that it is conscious that ‘judicial custody’ is custody of the court and the court will be loathe to depriving a person of his liberty in the court’s name on the mere ipse-dixit of the State when it finds no substantial reason for doing so.


Front Line Defenders condemns arrest of Pinjra Tod activists, demands immediate release
Attack on anti-CAA activists continue, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) students arrested
Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the National Capital Region’s unpreparedness



Related Articles