Can’t allow incarceration for long without trial: Supreme Court

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 27 

Maintaining that it cannot allow a person being kept incarcerated for a long time without a trial, the Supreme Court has granted bail to two accused from West Bengal languishing in jail for four years in a criminal case.

“We can’t permit the situation to prevail where the person is kept in incarceration for a long period of time with the trial hardly to commence,” a Bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said.

“We are thus of the view that as the period of incarceration is almost four years now and the first witness of the prosecution is yet to be examined, the appellants are entitled to bail on such terms and conditions as prescribed by the trial court. Ordered accordingly,” said the Bench which also included Justice PS Narasimha.

It took note of the fact that even the first witness of the prosecution had not been examined in the 2018 case of alleged seizure of 414 kg of contraband ‘Ganja’.

Though a charge sheet was filed and charges had been framed, the case did not proceed further, it said, allowing the appeal of the accused against the November 2021 order of the Calcutta High Court, which had dismissed their bail plea in the case under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

However, the top court said if the appellants sought to delay the trial, “we permit the trial court to put back the appellants into incarceration”.

The accused appellants would be required to remain present on all dates fixed by the trial court and their advocates would not seek unnecessary adjournments, the Bench said.