Thursday, 4 June 2015

The poor rot in jail, as judiciary is partial to the rich while granting bail.

Although bail was a right of every individual, it was largely available only to the rich", says Colin Gonsalves of Human Rights Law Network. "When it comes to rich people, the court has double standards. Rich even get anticipatory bail. Salman's case is a shocking case of miscarriage of justice and consideration based on class. First, it's a fit case where he should have got 10 years in jail. Two, why should his bail plea be heard expeditiously when there are hundreds such applications pending in the high courts. Why should he be allowed to jump queue? It sets a bad precedent," he told TOI.

But that's not the only problem. Courts have also been terribly slow in disposing of cases (Salman's itself took over 12 years). Courts have 84.8% pendency in criminal cases while on an average over 60% cases take more than a year for trial to be completed. As many as 41,670 cases take more than 10 years while 1.7 lakh cases take between five to 10 years for the trial to be completed.

Even in cases of heinous nature, an undertrial is entitled to bail, if not immediately, then after the chargesheet is filed by an investigating agency. Police get three months to file chargesheet in cases under Indian Penal Code and up to six months under special laws such as Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act. 

Where is our precious fundamental right to Life & Liberty?

The fact that over 60% are incarcerated EVEN AFTER CHARGESHEETs are filed points to the fact that only those with deep pockets to hire talented lawyers and fight long-drawn legal battles are able to secure bail for themselves.

[This story appeared in TOI shortly after Salman Khan got same-day bail.]


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