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Confusion over SC verdict made magistrate re-consider decision

Initially, when the accused officials were produced at the magistrate’s chamber, it decided to grant one-day bail to them and conduct a hearing on Wednesday.

Published: 19th February 2020 06:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th February 2020 06:31 AM   |  A+A-

One of the six former officers of Nedumkandam police station being brought to the Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate Court on Tuesday | A Sanesh

Express News Service

KOCHI: “Let the police officers concerned be arrested forthwith.” The wordings of the Supreme Court verdict in the petition filed by Kerala government challenging the bail granted to first accused in the Nedumkandam custodial death case led to severe confusion as the Additional Magistrate Court had to think twice before remanding other accused police officers on Tuesday.

Initially, when the accused officials were produced at the magistrate’s chamber, it decided to grant one-day bail to them and conduct a hearing on Wednesday. Even the ID proof of two sureties was collected. However, at 6.30 pm, the magistrate decided to reconsider its decision and remanded them to Ernakulam Sub Jail.

According to a CBI officer, the confusion was mainly about the Supreme Court verdict. Kerala government had approached the SC against bail granted to the first accused. “But in the concluding sentence of the order, it is stated that the police officers concerned be arrested. We interpret it as a directive to arrest all the accused police officers. However, counsel for the accused person contested before the magistrate that the order was made without hearing them,” a CBI officer said.

The verdict was given by Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Indira Banerjee on December 16, 2019. A two-page verdict in Special Leave Petition(CRL) No 8818/2019 stated that Kerala High Court granted privilege of bail to accused persons illegally. Since the case is registered under section 302 of the IPC with respect to custodial death, it is not a case where the benefit of bail could have been granted to the accused persons, SC observed in its verdict.

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