SC grants bail to accused under stringent anti-terror UAPA; says Rajasthan HC erred in relying only on public prosecutor’s statement

The Supreme Court Wednesday granted bail to an accused facing trial under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 (UAPA) and had been in jail for over six years.

The Rajasthan High Court had denied bail to the accused saying there were no reasonable grounds to prima facie disbelieve the accusation against the petitioner and that no case for grant of bail had been made out while taking into consideration the restrictions imposed under Section 43-D of the UAPA.

After perusing Section 43D(5) of the stringent anti-terror law and taking note of the fact that the accused had not even been named in the FIR and the contents of the charge-sheet insofar as it pertained to the petitioner, a three-judge bench of Justices Rohinton F Nariman, Navin Sinha and K M Joseph said that the High Court judgment stating that a prima facie case had been made out against the petitioner based on the public prosecutor’s statement, could not be said to be strictly correct.

(LtoR)- Justices Navin Sinha, Justice Rohinton F Nariman and Justice K M Joseph.

Section 43-D of the UAPA makes bail virtually impossible. It says that nobody accused of the terror offences under it will be released on bail if the court, after perusing the case diary and police report, “is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation against such person is prima facie true”. The said Section reads as follows-

“43-D(5) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code, no person accused of an offence punishable under Chapters IV and VI of this Act shall, if in custody, be released on bail or on his own bond unless the Public Prosecutor has been given an opportunity of being heard on the application for such release: Provided that such accused person shall not be released on bail or on his own bond if the Court, on a perusal of the case diary or the report made under section 173 of the Code is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation against such person is prima facie true”.

The bench, however, refrained from giving detailed reasons for granting bail so as not to prejudice the trial.

Accused Aadil Ansari, as per the prosecution, is alleged to have helped the co-accused, from whose house huge explosive material was recovered by the police, in fleeing from the scene of crime while calling him from his house. He was charge-sheeted for offences under Section 212 (Harbouring offender) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Section 19 (Punishment for harbouring, etc.) of the UAPA.

The petitioner/accused had completed his Bachelor degree in Engineering, Electronics & Communication in the year 2013 from Marwad College of Engineering, Rajasthan.

Advocate Mohd. Irshad Hanif assisted by advocates Rizwan Ahmad Durrani and Mujahid Ahmad argued that no evidence direct or indirect was recovered from the accused; he didn’t even know the antecedents of the co-accused.

Read the Order

https://theleaflet.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/33673_2019_33_9_24196_Order_30-Sep-2020.pdf