Breaking-Violation Of Fundamental Right To Speedy Trial Is A Ground For Constitutional Court To Grant Bail In UAPA Cases: Supreme Court
2nd Feb, 2021
The Supreme Court held that the power of the Constitutional Courts to issue bail on grounds of breach of the Fundamental Right to Speedy Trial is not expelled by Section 43-D (5) of UAPA per se. The bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose also noted that where there is no possibility of a trial being completed within a reasonable time and the duration of imprisonment already endured has exceeded a significant part of the prescribed sentence, the rigorous of the provision would melt down. Thus, though rejecting the appeal filed by the National Investigation Agency against the Kerala High Court order granting bail to Thodupuzha Newman College professor T J Joseph's defendant in palm chopping in 2011, the court noted. The statement made by NIA was that the High Court erred in granting bail without advertising the legislative rigorous of UAPA Section 43-D(5). [This case involves the incident in which a seven-member gang cut off a college professor, T J Joseph right ,'s palm while he was returning home from Sunday Mass on July 4, 2010, at 8 am. This happened after Prophet Mohammed was allegedly insulted by the professor in a question paper prepared by him for an internal examination conducted at Thodupuzha by the Malayalam department of Newman College. The court observed that, in this case, the High Court relied on its authority to grant bail because of the long duration of imprisonment and the uncertain completion of the trial at some point in the near future. The High Court's reasons are obviously traceable back to Article 21 of our Constitution, without, of course, addressing the legislative embargo created by UAPA's Section 43-D(5), the court noted.
The judgment refers to the decision in Shaheen Welfare Association v Union of India (1996) 2 SCC 616, in which it was held that a gross delay in the dismissal of such cases would justify the invocation of Article 21 of the Constitution and the subsequent need for bail-outs to be published.