Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of D.N. Patel, CJ and Prateek Jalan, J., allowed a writ petition that sought supply of status report/report of the Jail Superintendent/reply filed on behalf of the prosecution at the time of hearing bail applications.

Why has the present Public Interest Litigation been filed?

To pass directions for supply of status reports/report by the Jail Superintendent on behalf of the prosecution at the time hearing bail applications under Sections 437, 438 and 439 CrPC before the Metropolitan Magistrates and Sessions Judges to accused/counsel for the accused.

Contentions

Siddharth Luthra, Senior Counsel for the petitioner submitted that in several cases, reports are being called from Jail Superintendent in bail matters. The same are being relied upon by the Courts, but the copies thereof are not being supplied to the accused.

Further he pointed out various matters where orders have been passed, dismissing the bail application preferred by the accused by relying upon the report given by the Jail Superintendent.

Bench

Court on perusal of the above, stated that, Senior Counsel Rahul Mehra has submitted that there is no specific statement, looking to the orders which were annexed to the effect that in spite of demand, the accused has not been supplied a copy of the report of the Jail Superintendent.

Standing Counsel for the State pointed that normally, the report of the Jail Superintendent is given to the Court.

Ordinarily, as a general rule, it ought to be kept in mind by the Courts that whenever any report is called for from the Jail Superintendent and is given to the Court either directly or through APP, copy thereof should be given to the applicant of the bail application.

— High Court

Further the Court added that every rule has its own exceptions and, depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case, there may be some cases where the report cannot be so supplied.

However, as a general rule, copy of the report given by the Jail Superintendent as well as the report given by the Investigating Officer should be supplied to the applicant so that accused can properly understand the reasons given therein and defend their case in the Court of Law.

Thus, with the above observations, petition was disposed of. [Chirag Madan v. UOI, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 699 , decided on 29-06-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Rajasthan High Court: Pankaj Bhandari, J. while addressing the present petition, held that,

“…at the time of complete lockdown the bail applications, Appeals under SC/ST Act, applications for suspension of sentence cannot be considered to be of extreme urgency.”

Bail applications, Appeals under SC/ST Act, Revisions and Appeals with applications for suspension of sentence were listed in the category of urgent matters.

When the entire country except essential services is under closure, whether the above would fall within the category of extremely urned matters is the question raised.

Rajasthan High Court had issued notification with regard to listing of only urgent matters dated 24-03-2020.

Criminal Appeals under SC/ST Act pertaining to bails effecting service on the complainant before passing any order in favor of the accused is the mandate of the SC/ST Act.

In the present lockdown condition even sending notice through Police personnel may pose risk of spreading COVID-19 as even police personnels have been quarantined.

There is complete closure of public transport hence it cannot and should not be expected from the police personnel that they would leave the emergent task given under the “the Act” to effect service on the complaint.

Bench also observed, that any order passed in favour of petitioner or appellant would be an order adverse to Complainant/State and presently when Lawyers are abstaining from work on account of call given by Bar Council of Rajasthan, Complainant would be deprived of his right to engage a Lawyer and oppose the bail application/ application for suspension of sentence.

Further, the bench stated that, Release of an accused or convict at the cost of breaching order of lockdown and at the cost of risking lives of many cannot be considered to fall within the category of “extremely urgent matter.”

It was also noted from the report of DG Prisons that there is no overcrowding of prisons and regular checkups of the inmates is being done.

Thus, in view of the above, Registrar Judicial is directed not to list Bails, appeals applications for suspension of sentence in Appeals and Revisions in the category of “extreme urgent matters”.[Shahrukh v. State of Rajasthan,  2020 SCC OnLine Raj 400, decided on 31-03-2020]