Allahabad High Court grants bail to murder convict over delay in trial

The Allahabad High Court has said the delay in disposal of cases is a violation of the right to speedy trial. Making this observation, the Court allowed the interim bail application of the murder convict, who has been in jail for 13 years and ordered his release on a personal bond and two securities.

A Single Bench of Justice Ajay Bhanot passed this order while hearing a Criminal Misc Bail Application filed by Mahesh Chandra Shukla.

By means of the 4th bail application, the applicant has prayed to be enlarged on bail in Case at Police Station-Soraon, District Allahabad under Sections 302, 307, 323, 504, 506 IPC and Section 7 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act.

Anil Kumar Srivastava, counsel for the applicant, contends that the applicant has been falsely implicated in the case. The applicant does not have any criminal history apart from the case. The applicant has been in jail since 12.07.2009. The trial has not concluded till date. Inordinate delay in the trial will lead to indefinite incarceration of the applicant. This will result in a miscarriage of justice.

The Court by order dated 04.07.2022 directed the trial court, Allahabad to send a report regarding the cause for delay and status of the trial. The report sent by the trial court, Allahabad does not indicate that the applicant was in any manner responsible for the delay, the Court noted.

The Court observed,

The applicant has a fundamental right to speedy justice. Further, incarceration of the applicant in the facts of the case will lead to violation of the right to speedy trial.

There are good authorities of constitutional courts which have held that the right to speedy trial is a fundamental right. Thirteen years of incarceration without conclusion of the trial in the facts of this case has violated this right of the applicant. The trial in its comments has sought to assure the Court that the trial be concluded expeditiously. In view of the past conduct of the trial, the Court cannot assurance on its face value.

AGA Paritosh Kumar Malviya as well as Chandra Prakash Pandey, counsel for the informant, could not satisfactorily dispute the aforesaid submissions from the record. They, however, do not dispute the fact that the applicant does not have any criminal history apart from the case.

"I find merit in the submissions of the counsel for the applicant and accordingly held that the applicant is entitled for interim bail. The trial court shall make all endeavours to conclude the trial," the Court further observed.

The Court ordered that,

Let the applicant Mahesh Chandra Shukla be released on interim bail in the aforesaid case crime number on furnishing a personal bond and two sureties each in the like amount to the satisfaction of the court concerned subject to following conditions.

(i) The applicant will not tamper with the evidence during the trial.

(ii) The applicant will not influence any witness.

(iii) The applicant will appear before the trial court on the date fixed, unless personal presence is exempted.

(iv) The applicant shall not directly or indirectly make inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the Court to any police officer or tamper with the evidence.

In case of breach of any of the above conditions, the prosecution shall be at liberty to move an application for interim bail before the Court.