Wednesday, November 23, 2011

“bail is the rule and jail an exception” granting bail to five corporate biggies in the 2G scam

In granting bail to five corporate biggies in the 2G scam, the Supreme Court on Wednesday restored primacy of the 33-year-old “bail is the rule and jail an exception” judicial philosophy, which had been clouded by a stringent approach by courts in a maze of high value economic offences that hit the country since the 1990s.
A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and H L Dattu said the object of bail was neither punitive nor preventive but was meant to secure presence of the accused during the trial while ensuring that he did not tamper with evidence or attempted influencing witnesses, an argument that was repeatedly advanced by criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani before the Supreme Court during arguments on bail pleas.
Justice Dattu, authoring the 63-page judgment for the Supreme Court bench, said, “The courts owe more than verbal respect to the principle that punishment begins after conviction, and that every man is deemed to be innocent until duly tried and duly found guilty.”
The bench reiterated the principle authoritatively laid down in four 1978 judgments of the Supreme Court.
It also reiterated that when there was a delay in trial, bail should be granted to the accused as “it is not in the interest of justice that accused should be in jail for an indefinite period”.
The Supreme Court’s disapproval of the present judicial trend of keeping under-trial accused in prolonged judicial custody could come as a balm to many an accused who have been consistently denied bail in big-ticket cases relating to white collar crime.

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