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High Court seeks compliance of SC directions on trial timeframe, bail plea.

Disapproving “violation” of Supreme Court directions by trial courts on timeline of deciding trials where accused are in custody as well as deciding bail applications, the High Court has held that that the apex court directions require to be implemented in letter and spirit.

A bench of Justice M K Hanjura held that the trial courts do not follow the directions issued by the apex court in the case titled Hussain and Another v Union of India.

Observing that the directions extended by the apex court are being violated with impunity by the trial courts, the Court pointed out that there are no checks and balances in place and the trial courts behave not responsibly.

“They do not address the issue in conformity with the mandate of law as has been case here in the application,” Justice Hanjura observed.

The court made these observations while deciding bail applications moved by two persons Tariq Ahmad Bhat and Bashir Ahmad Dar from whose possessions 558 and 250 grams of charas was recovered.

The duo had obtained the chars through illegal means for sale to customers and therefore offences were made against them under section 8/20 NDPS Act.

After the accused filed bail applications before additional sessions judge Sopore, the court kept these pleas on board for three months.

On March 19, 2018 the applicants after completing a period of 60 days in custody moved an application for default bail. While making certain observations, the additional sessions court Sopore rejected the application by an order on May 5, 2018.

“Taking the instant application from the perspective, it requires to be recapitulated that the rigor of section 37 of the NDPS act does not apply to the instant case. It also needs to be said that the case of the applicants does not fall within the parameters of the offences that are punishable with death or imprisonment of life,” the bench observed.

Therefore, the court said, there appears to be no reasonable ground for declining bail to the applicants.

“Deprivation of liberty is tentamount to punishment. The principle that punishment begins after conviction and that every man is deemed to be innocent unless duly tried and duly found guilty has its application to the facts of the instant case in all the fours,” the bench said.

Underscoring that bail cannot be withheld as a means of punishment, the bench said: “Prison hell destroys the tender sentiments of a person. The discretion has to be exercised on well based foundation of law and one cannot get swayed by sentiments.

The court admitted the applicants to bail with the condition that they furnish a personal bond to the tune of Rs 50000 each with a surety of the like amount to the satisfaction of the court.

Meanwhile the Court directed its Registrar Judicial to place the matter before the Chief Justice so that the CJ may be pleased to issue order directing the trial courts to comply with the directions extended by the SC.

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