THE Supreme Court Friday cancelled the bail granted to a contract killer and a sharpshooter facing prosecution under the U.P. Gangster and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986.
A bench of CJI SA Bobde, AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said there was no doubt that liberty was important, even that of a person charged with crime but it was important for the courts to recognise the potential threat to the life and liberty of victims and witnesses if such an accused was released on bail.
The bench said the high court overlooked several aspects, such as the potential threat to witnesses, forcing the trial court to grant protection.
“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 the parties before them and the incident in question. It is necessary for courts to consider the impact that the release of such persons on bail will have on the witnesses yet to be examined and the innocent members of the family of the victim who might be the next victims”, the court said.
The court was ruling a petition filed by the wife of a deceased victim, namely Rajnarain Singh, challenging the order of the Allahabad High Court granting bail to one Arun Yadav accused of murdering Singh in conspiracy with others.
The deceased’s wife had contended that the conduct of the accused during the trial of a case had been one of non-cooperation, by not cross-examining the witnesses first, then praying for their recall and then threatening witnesses through his henchmen. She had argued that courts must be extremely careful in releasing history sheeters charged several times with serious offences like murder, rape or other kinds of bodily harm.
The accused had criminal antecedents and had been prosecuted in fifteen cases for serious offences including murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy.