Kerala High Court: K.Haripal, J., granted bail to the accused involved in post poll murder case of a Muslim League member. The Bench opined,
“No doubt, the allegations against the accused are very grave. Still, so long as the final report is laid, it is not in the interest of justice, unless overwhelming reasons are made out, to keep the suspects in custody.”
The instant case dealt with post poll murder that was a culmination of political rivalry between the activists of the Communist Party of India (CPI (M)) and rival political group i.e., Indian Union Muslim League. It had come out that there were some clashes between the two groups, later, while the deceased was moving on his motor cycle on the eve of the last Assembly elections, a gang of persons, including the petitioners intercepted and attacked him with dangerous weapons; and country made bombs were also hurled at him. The petitioners were implicated for causing death of one member of the Muslim League and severely injuring one other member (brother of the deceased).
The Petitioners who were 10 in number were booked under Sections 143, 147, 148, 302, 341, 323, 324, 326, 307 read with 149 of the Penal Code, 1860 and also under Sections 3 and 5 of the Explosive Substances Act and Sections 25(1)(B)(b) and 27(1) of the Arms Act. Noticeably, one of the accused had committed suicide, another absconded and the rest had approached the Court for seeking their release on bail.
Noticing that the total number of sessions cases pending in the Thakassery division was 5498, in which number of murder cases where custodial trial was intended was 8, the Bench opined that the Sessions Courts in that division were very heavy as Thalassery was a hub of political rivalry and clashes. Hence, considering that huge number of sessions cases were pending in the courts, the Bench opined,
“In the circumstances, it is unlikely that the trial of the case will be able to be taken up in the near future. That would result in protraction of trial and indefinite detention of the petitioners in custody. Such a pre-trial detention is not expedient nor in public interest.”
Moreover, considering the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court for easing the crowd in prisons during to Covid pandemic, the Bench favoured the bail application of the petitioners. Rejecting the apprehensions of the prosecution that if released the accused may influence prosecution witnesses, the Bench stated that since all the material witnesses were members or sympathisers of the Indian Union Muslim League, rival political fraction of the accused, normally, such witnesses were not susceptible to any kind of influence, that might be exerted by the accused in the event of their release on bail.
Accordingly, the Bench held that the accused can be detained in custody indefinitely only if very strong circumstances are made out. The bail application was allowed. [Shinos.K.K v. State of Kerala, Bail Appl. No. 5658 of 2021, decided on 13-09-2021]
Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.
For The Accused: Sr. Advocate P.Vijaya Bhanu, Advocate K.Viswan, Advocate M.Revikrishnan, Advocate D.Arun Bose
For The State Of Kerala: Senior Public Prosecutor Sreeja V. and Senior Public Prosecutor Renjith T.R.
For Respondent: Advocate C.K.Sreedharan and Advocate Sunny Mathew