oppn parties The Case Diary and Bail Applications

News Snippets

  • Centre asks states to give shelter and food to migrant workers to stop them from taking to the streets
  • RBI cuts repo rate by 75 bps, the steepest in 10 years
  • Centre writes to states regarding laxity in monitoring people who had arrived from abroad between January and March
  • Kerala reports a spurt in new cases
  • With 124 fresh cases on Friday, the number of reported cases in India stand at 854
  • Five of a family, including a 9-month-old-baby test positive for Covid-19 in Nadia district in West Bengal on Friday
  • The Pakistani army is reportedly forcibly moving all Covid-19 patients to PoK and Gilgit
  • Untimely azaans in J&K mosques spark panic gathering
  • Stocks rise - Sensex up by 1400 points and Nifty goes above the 8600 mark
  • Rahul Gandhi says the economic package is "the first step in the right direction"
  • The government announces wide-ranging measures to help the poor overcome the economic hardship caused by Covid-19
  • G20 leaders to hold a virtual meeting today to explore ways of fighting Covid-19 in a coordinated manner
  • The Delhi government orders testing of all medical staff after the positive test on a Delhi mohalla clinic doctor
  • As a fallout of a Delhi mohalla clinic doctor testing positive for Covid-19, 900 people in the chain quarantined
  • China offers help to India in the fight against Covid-19 and says India will win the battle at an early date
Death toll reaches 27 as Covid-19 cases across India reach 974 on Saturday
oppn parties
The Case Diary and Bail Applications

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2015-09-28 18:08:34

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Although the underlying principle for judges is “bail, not jail” when it comes to disposing of bail applications, they almost always take recourse to the notations in the case diary of the investigative agencies and the arguments put forward by the prosecution in deciding whether the accused gets bail. The case diary assumes great importance as the investigating officer notes the time, manner and circumstances of the arrest and the progress of the investigation thereafter.

But what happens when this vital piece of evidence in a bail case is not produced on court on the day the bail application comes up for hearing? In normal circumstances, relying on the verbal and written submissions of the public prosecutor, the judge extends the custody. But is this right? Should the accused person’s right to bail be denied just because the investigating agencies and their legal team are sloppy, inefficient and negligent?

The Guwahati High Court does not seem to think so. A single judge bench of acting Chief Justice K. Sreedhar Rao took a view that that the practice of calling for case diaries in almost all cases is not just. The judge said “such a practice does not appear to be a just course for adjudicating bail applications.” Justice Rao further said that “the public prosecutors, while filing objections, shall have to take proper instructions from the investigating agencies and collect all necessary details and incorporate all those details in the objections statement and that should be proper material for the court to consider the bail applications or otherwise.”

If the case diary is not presented before the court on the day a bail application is moved, it is nothing but inefficiency on part of the investigating agency and the legal team. Very often, the simplest reason is that the investigating officer has not found time to update the case diary in the mandated manner and hence cannot produce it before the court. Why should an accused suffer for that? Lawyers have expressed surprise at this order, saying that a lapse on part of the investigative officer or the public prosecutor can result in an accused getting bail.

But the premise behind the judgment is exactly that. Why should investigating agencies or the public prosecutor be so slack in preparing themselves for objecting to a bail application? It is not as if some witness is to be examined and the matter can be postponed for a few weeks. A person is held in jail even though charges against him are not proved. Legally, he should be out of jail if there are not enough compelling reasons for his continued incarceration and it is the duty of the prosecution to present those compelling reasons. If the case diary leads to those reasons, it should be presented before the court on that date; otherwise the court should be free to decide that the prosecution is not interested in further custody. The prosecution cannot hope to get custody if it cannot prove compelling reasons.