CHENNAI: The trial courts have, of late, lost sight of the two cardinal principles of criminal jurisprudence, while dealing with an application for grant of bail or anticipatory bail. Though the Supreme Court has, time and again, reiterated these cardinal principles - “bail is the rule and jail is an exception” - as well as the principle that “persons accused of having committed a crime are presumed to be innocent, unless proved guilty”, it is disheartening to note that even in petty offences, matrimonial disputes, criminal and commercial disputes etc., the police have been invoking their powers vested on them during the pre-independence era and seeking remand of these persons, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has observed.
Likewise, the jurisdictional trial courts have also been mechanically remanding such persons, overlooking these cardinal principles. It is needless to point out that when complaints are received over commission of heinous crimes which may have bearing on the society at large or habitual offences etc., the police officers are at liberty to seek judicial custody of the persons involved in such crimes and the Magistrate may also be justified in remanding them, Justice M S Ramesh said.
The judge made the observations while granting advance bail to one Ramesh (18) of Kandavarayanpatti in Sivaganga district on May 16. He apprehended arrest for threatening a man with dire consequences.“It is no doubt true that grant of bail or anticipatory bail is a discretion vested with the jurisdictional courts and such a discretion will not be usually questioned.
Nevertheless, such a discretion requires to be exercised judiciously and cautiously. It is common knowledge that the persons, who are alleged to have been involved in offences under Sections 294(b) and 506(i) of IPC and other petty offences are being produced by the investigating officer (IO) before the jurisdictional magistrate for remanding them and most of the time, such an action is taken even on the same day, on which the complaint is received and the FIR is registered. Likewise, matrimonial disputes, civil disputes and other commercial disputes are being veiled with a criminal colour and indiscriminate arrests are being made.
The court said it was disheartening to note that even in petty offences, matrimonial disputes, criminal and commercial disputes etc., the police have been invoking their powers vested on them during the pre-independence era and seeking remand of these persons