Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Violation of fundamental right to speedy trial; SC grants bail in UAPA case

The Supreme Court on Monday observed that delay in trial is violation of fundamental right while upholding the bail granted by Kerala High Court in a Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act case.

Supreme Court bench has held that Section 43­D (5) of UAPA per­ se does not stop the ability of Constitutional Courts to grant bail.

The bench comprising of Justices NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose observed that the rigours of the provisions in UAPA will meltdown where there is no likelihood of trail being completed within a reasonable time.

Supreme Court made the observation while dismissing the appeal filed by National Investigation Agency against the Kerala High Court order granting bail to K.A Najeeb, accused in chopping the palm of professor T J Joseph in 2011.

The reasons assigned by the High Court are apparently traceable back to Article 21 of our Constitution, of course without addressing the statutory embargo created by section 43D (5) of UAPA, the Court observed.

The Court noted that the accused has been in jail for more than five years, and that there are 276 witnesses left to be examined.

Section 43­D (5) of UAPA makes it almost impossible for under-trial prisoners languishing in jail to gain bail. In India, hundreds of prisoners wait years to complete trail due to short-staffed judicial system.

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