Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bombay HC frowns on stringent bail conditions, cites case backlog

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court recently questioned the need for a trial court to impose "stringent" bail conditions while cancelling a warrant when the court is unable to speed up hearing of cases because of backlog.

Justice M L Tahaliyani cancelled the non-bailable warrants issued by a magistrate's court against a 62-year-old south Mumbai resident, Sushma Sharma, and a co-accused, Naresh Trika (52), who are facing charges of assault, wrongful confinement and abduction in an incident that occurred in 1993 at a Juhu hotel. The HC also modified the bail conditions.

The court was hearing a plea by Girgaum Chowpatty resident Sharma challenging the tough bail conditions.

The case against Sharma and Trika is that in January 1993, they allegedly assaulted the cashier of Hotel Horizon in Juhu, accusing him of misappropriating hotel money. The charge sheet was filed in 2005.

According to the petition, the judicial officer issued non-bailable warrants against the two in February 2013 as they failed to appear on one occasion. Sharma claimed she was on a pilgrimage then, while Trika was under treatment in Amritsar where he lived.

Once they appeared before court, the magistrate passed an order cancelling the warrants subject to the condition that they submitted a personal bond and furnished a local surety of Rs 50,000 each. The other conditions said the duo would have to present themselves before the Juhu police every Sunday and could not leave Mumbai or India without the court's permission.

Advocate Aniket Nikam, counsel for Sharma, said, "Merely because the accused, a senior citizen, remained absent on one occasion, the trial court imposed extremely onerous conditions while staying the non-bailable warrant in a 20-year-old case. Such conditions were uncalled for."

Nikam said the two were unable to get a local person to stand surety for them. "For furnishing a surety of over Rs 15,000, the person standing surety has to submit his property papers. This is difficult in a city like Mumbai."

Justice Tahaliyani said, "I have come to the conclusion that the order passed by the magistrate is too onerous to be sustained. There is no necessity to impose such stringent conditions in the bail order, particularly when the magistrate is not able to hear the matter expeditiously due to pendency of other cases."

Modifying the bail conditions, the HC said the duo be released on a bond of Rs 50,000. Additionally, they were given the option of either submitting a surety or a cash deposit of Rs 50,000. The court said they could not travel out of India without permission, but deleted the other conditions including the one that required them to take permission before travelling outside Mumbai and present themselves before the police every week.

No comments:

Post a Comment