Tripura High Court has denied pre-arrest bail to an accused involved in the lynching of an 18-year old Muslim man as it was suspected that he was in possession of stolen cattle. The bench of Justice SG Chattopadhyay noted that the deceased was brutally lynched even though no cattle was found in his possession.
The police had found that one Saiful Islam of about 18 years’ of age was lying on the street at Sovaram Chow Para with several cut wound on his body and was unable to speak. He succumbed to his injuries after been taken to the hospital. The deceased had allegedly stolen cattle and was brutally assaulted by a mob. During investigation, the police found the applicant, Gagan Debbarma to be a suspect and named him accused.
The applicant sought pre-arrest bail on the ground that other co-accused have been released on bail and that he has no antecedents.
The prosecutor, R Datta argued that the youth was brutally murdered by a mob on suspicion that he was in the team of cattle lifters, and the statements of the eye witnesses has revealed the name of the present accused petitioner as one of the members of the mob who were found chasing the deceased and killing him. Furthermore, the accused also tried to bury his body in an attempt to destroy evidence.
“This is one of the gravest forms of offence known to the society in which the extra ordinary relief of pre-arrest bail under section 438 Cr.P.C. cannot be granted to the accused,” Datta argued. He also submitted that other members of the mob are yet to be identified and granting pre-arrest bail would frustrate the investigation. He also argued that the ground of parity does not apply since the other accused were first arrested by police and were interrogated and the applicant is seeking anticipatory bail.
The court observed that apart from the gravity of offence, there are other factors which are unfavourable to the accused applicant in this case. “A young boy of 18 years was brutally lynched by a mob only on the suspicion that he was a cattle lifter even though no cattle was found in his possession,” the court observed. The court also pointed out that eye-witness versions demonstrate that the applicant was one of the members of the mob who was found chasing and lynching the deceased.
The court cited Jai Prakash Singh vs. State of Bihar (2012) 4 SCC 379 whereby the apex court held that “Anticipatory bail can be granted only in exceptional circumstances where the court is prima facie of the view that the applicant has falsely been enroped in the crime and would not misuse his liberty.”
In view of the facts, the court decided to not grant pre-arrest bail to the applicant.
The order may be read here: