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Supreme Court releases two life imprisonment convicts on bail

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The Supreme Court has released on bail two men convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in murder cases after taking note that both had undergone 11 years and 8 months & for 15 years of actual custody without remission, respectively. 

The two-judge bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant dealt with the two petitions of Urman and Sanjay Bhat separately. “Having regard to the length of imprisonment undergone and since there is no immediate possibility of the appeal being heard for final disposal by the High Court, we deem it appropriate and proper that the appellants be released on bail pending the disposal of Criminal Appeals subject to such terms and conditions as may be imposed by the Sessions Court.”

Appellant Urman was convicted under Sections 147 (Punishment for rioting), 148(Rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149(Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 302 (Punishment for Murder), 207 (Fraudulent claim to property to prevent its seizure as forfeited or in execution) and 504(Insult intended to provoke breach of the peace) of Indian Penal Code,1860.

Similarly, the Sessions Court had convicted Sanjay Bhat for offences under sections 147 (Punishment for rioting), 148 (Rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 302 (Punishment for Murder) read with sections 149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) and 201 (Causing Disappearance of Evidence and Giving False Information) of Indian Penal Code, 1860. 

In Urman’s case, the bench noted that his Criminal Appeal No 7297 of 2011 is pending before the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad for almost 11 years. The first application for the grant of bail was dismissed on May 29, 2015. The High Court has dismissed the subsequent application by the impugned order dated September 8, 2021. The appellant has undergone over 15 years of actual custody without remission.

 “In case of Sanjay Bhat, the Criminal Appeal No 3481 of 2014 is pending before the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad for almost eight years. The application for suspension of sentence was dismissed on August 30, 2016. The High Court has dismissed the subsequent application by the impugned judgment dated October 1, 2019. The appellant has undergone over 11 years and 8 months of actual custody without remission,” the Apex Court noted. 

The impugned order leading to dismissal of second bail dated 1.10.2019 that was challenged before the Apex Court, contains prayer for bail on medical grounds, wherein the High Court was of the view that there are various prescriptions and medical papers which are self-explanatory that whenever, treatment was required, Bhat was sent from the jail for better treatments and there is an order issued by Inspector General (Jails), Meerut Zone, Meerut dated 23.03.2015 for the purpose in reference to the provisions of para-1058 of U.P. Jail Manual also.

Before the High Court, the AGA had opposed Bhat’s bail application stating that better facilities are available in jail and if required, the prisoners are carried outside the jail for providing treatment.

The Allahabad High Court, while dismissing Sanjay Bhat second bail application, held that there is no new ground for extending the privilege of bail to Bhat.

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