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Courts should not enlarge history sheeters on bail with ‘blinkered vision’: Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has said that courts should not enlarge history sheeters on bail with a “blinkered vision” and must consider the impact of their release on witnesses and innocent members of the family of the victim.

A bench headed by Chief Justice (now retired) S A Bobde made the observation while setting aside the order of the Allahabad High Court granting bail to an accused.

The top court said that there is no doubt that liberty is important, even that of a person charged with crime but it is important for courts to recognise the potential threat to the life and liberty of victims/witnesses, if such an accused is released on bail.

“It is needless to point out that in cases of this nature, it is important that courts do not enlarge an accused on bail with a blinkered vision by just taking into account only parties before them and the incident in question.

“It is necessary for courts to consider the impact that release of such persons on bail will have on witnesses yet to be examined and innocent members of the family of the victim who might be the next victims,” the bench also comprising Justices A S Bopanna ans V Ramasubramanian said.

Referring to its earlier verdicts, the apex court said when a stand was taken that the accused was a history sheeter, it was imperative for high courts to scrutinise every aspect and not capriciously record that the accused was entitled to be released on bail on the ground of parity.

“We find in this case that the high court has overlooked several aspects, such as the potential threat to witnesses, forcing the trial court to grant protection,” it said.

The bench said the Allahabad High Court granted bail to the accused in this case on very liberal terms, such as the execution of a personal bond to the satisfaction of jail authorities and the furnishing of sureties within a month of his release.The high court has simply ignored the antecedents of the accused and the potential to repeat his acts by organising his criminal activities, the bench said.

The top court was hearing an appeal filed by one Sudha Singh, wife of Raj Narain Singh who was allegedly murdered by the accused, Arun Yadav, in conspiracy with others.

The 52-year-old Singh, president, cooperative cell of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC), was shot near Belaisa in Azamgarh in 2015 when he had gone for a walk.

The accused is alleged to be a contract killer and a sharpshooter and has been prosecuted in fifteen cases for serious offences including murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy.

Referring to the recent incident involving UP gangster Vikas Dubey, the appeal contended that the grant of bail in a routine manner to gangsters, has had an adverse effect in the past, upon the law and order situation.

“The appellant cites the example of a person who was prosecuted in connection with 64 criminal cases which included cases of murders, offences of dacoity, criminal intimidation, extortion and offences under the UP-Gangster Act, etc, but who was released on bail.

“Ultimately, when a police team went to apprehend him in a case, allegedly 8 policemen were killed and many grievously injured. Therefore, the appellant contends that courts must be extremely careful in releasing of history sheeters who have been charged with serious offences like murder, rape or other kinds of bodily harms several times,” the appeal said.