J.N. Datta, J.C.
1. This is an application for the grant of bail under Section 498 of the Cr. P. C The two applicants were arrested Order 9-6-57 in connection with a dacoity that was committed on the night Order 12/13! February, 1957. Their bail petitions to the A.D.M-and the Sessions Judge were rejected.
2. At present the evidence against one of them consists of a piece of flannel cloth, which was identified as having been stolen during the dacoity, and was recovered from a witness, who alleges to have purchased it from the accused and also of a piece of iron pipe which is said to have been discovered as a result of information given by the accused, and which is similar to some iron pipes which were left by the dacoits at the place of dacoity after having used them for the purpose of firing gun powder.
3. As against the other accused it consists of a watch which was also stolen in the course of the dacoity and was recovered from a witness, who alleges to have purchased it from the accused. The watch bears a number which is said to tally with the number mentioned in the receipt for the price paid by the complainant to the shop-keeper who sold the watch to him.
4. There can be no doubt that this evidence if believed will go a long way to implicate the accused in the offence. Dacoity is a serious offence and is punishable with imprisonment for life, in which bail is not to be lightly granted. I do not find any special reasons, why exception should be made to that rule in the present case.
It is true that the petitioners' names were not stated in the F.I.R. but then no names were given, as none of the dacoits appears to have been identified. That report was made by a neighbour, and his statement that names of suspected persons will be mentioned later cannot be of much value one way or the other. Suspicion is not evidence of identification.
5. I see therefore no reason to grant bail to the applicants and their application for same is rejected.
6. I however observe that though sufficient time has elapsed, the police have not preferred a charge sheet (challan) before the Magistrate. The learned Government Advocate explained this to be due to the fact that some of the other accused are absconding, and efforts are in progress for getting them apprehended.
In my opinion that is not very desirable. A charge sheet can be filed, showing them as absconders, & then letting the court issue processes against them for their arrest. I have however accepted that explanation for the present but make it plain that if a charge sheet is not now preferred within a reasonable time the accused persons will be at liberty to move afresh for bail.