Presumption of innocence is a fundamental postulate of criminal jurisprudence

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sandeep Sharma, J. allowed a petition filed under Section 438 CrPC holding that freedom of an individual cannot be curtailed for an indefinite period without there being a finding of guilt.

The petitioner was accused of having disproportionate assets for which an FIR was registered. The petitioner, who was  Managing Director of H.P. State Forest Development Corpn. Ltd. apprehended arrest in the case which was registered under Sections 13(1)(e) and 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 read with Section 120-B IPC. He prayed for grant of anticipatory bail.

The High Court perused the record and noted that the bail petitioner had already joined the investigation and was fully cooperating; the guilt of the petitioner, if any, was yet to be proved. The Court relied on Dataram v. State of U.P.,(2018) 3 SCC 22 wherein it was held that a fundamental postulate of criminal jurisprudence is the presumption of innocence, meaning thereby that a person is believed to be innocent until found guilty. The Court reiterated that object of bail is to secure the attendance of the accused in the trial, an object of bail is neither punitive not preventive. Considering the facts noted above, the Court found it a fit case to exercise jurisdiction in favour of the petitioner. Accordingly, the petition was allowed and the petitioner was enlarged on anticipatory bail. [Chandra Shekhar Singh v. State of H.P.,  2018 SCC OnLine HP 857, dated 06-07-2018]

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