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Jadeja Ajitsinh Natubha and ors. Vs. the State of Gujarat - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1981CriLJ1203; (1980)GLR571
AppellantJadeja Ajitsinh Natubha and ors.
RespondentThe State of Gujarat
Excerpt:
.....case against the accused. they were in jail during the trial which culminated in an order of conviction (under section 302 read with section 34) and sentence (imprisonment for life) rendered on january 16, 1980. it would indeed be strange if the court were to enlarge them on bail after a competent court holds them guilty upon being satisfied that their guilt is established beyond reasonable doubt by evidence considered to be worthy of acceptance. it is not being done so far, for good and valid reasons, on sound principle and policy......years? one year or one and a half year in jail as under-trial prisoner, a period of respite for 3 years on bail, and again a return to jail? his life would be disrupted, his family and business affairs will be in a mess. again he himself would be running a grave risk. the near relatives of the murdered man, seeing that the law enforcement machinery is not visibly functioning, may take law in their own hands and seek retribution by killing him. it has happened in several cases. it can happen more often. under the circumstances, it would not be legal or proper to enlarge convicts undergoing a life sentence on bail notwithstanding the fact that theoretically speaking the high court does possess the power. it is not being done so far, for good and valid reasons, on sound principle and.....
Judgment:

M.P. Thakkar, J.

1. A very strange and unprecedented request is made by four convicts who have been found guilty of an offence under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code for having caused the death of the Sarpanch of village Jakhotra, and with have been sentenced to suffer imprisonment for life. They have approached the Court with a prayer for being released on bail on sympathetic grounds (as there is no one to look after their agricultural fields). When the offence which was committed on April 4, 1978 was under investigation, they were in jail as under-trial prisoners for the very good reason that bail is not granted in a murder case when there is a prima facie case against the accused. They were in jail during the trial which culminated in an order of conviction (under Section 302 read with Section 34) and sentence (imprisonment for life) rendered on January 16, 1980. It would indeed be strange if the Court were to enlarge them on bail after a competent Court holds them guilty upon being satisfied that their guilt is established beyond reasonable doubt by evidence considered to be worthy of acceptance. When the offence was yet to be proved they were not enlarged on bail. Can they now be enlarged on bail when the offence is proved and the guilt is established,? it would be extremely incongruous to do so on principle or policy. Argument rooted in sympathy is altogether misconceived and fraught with danger. The Court has also to consider the' impact on society. The Court cannot be oblivious of the feelings and sentiments of 'the members of the family of the deceased, Would a widow whose husband is murdered not feel that there is no law in the society and no justice in the world? Would there not be a general feeling In the society that the Courts are unduly lenient and sympathetic towards criminals guilty of serious offences and that this own lives are in peril? What would be the effect on the inhabitants of a town who see a murderer non-chalantly stalking on the public streets after being found guilty by a competent Court' Would the respect for the law enforcement machinery survive? One of the purposes of punishment is that it must have deterrent effect. Unless punishment is meted out swiftly in case the offender is found guilty, and citizens at large see him suffering the punishment, this objective cannot be achieved. In fact when for years after the commission of the crime the offenders are not meted out the punishment, respect for law and order, and the morale of the citizens (not to speak of the investigating agency) suffers a slump. Some may feel 'whatever you do, you do not have to go to jail' and are emboldened to commit crimes. Others may feel that the criminals can escape going to jail, and a sense of insecurity arises. And a punishment which is ultimately given effect to, several years after the perpetration of the crime, perhaps after it is forgotten, serves no purpose. And let us think of the aftermath. When the appeal is heard after, say 3 years, would it not be harsh to send him back to jail once again after a lapse of 3 years? One year or one and a half year in jail as under-trial prisoner, a period of respite for 3 years on bail, and again a return to jail? His life would be disrupted, his family and business affairs will be in a mess. Again he himself would be running a grave risk. The near relatives of the murdered man, seeing that the law enforcement machinery is not visibly functioning, may take law in their own hands and seek retribution by killing him. It has happened in several cases. It can happen more often. Under the circumstances, it would not be legal or proper to enlarge convicts undergoing a life sentence on bail notwithstanding the fact that theoretically speaking the High Court does possess the power. It is not being done so far, for good and valid reasons, on sound principle and policy. It cannot be done now in the name of sympathy. Sympathy for one (convict) may mean lack of sympathy for another (tear-shedding relatives of the murdered man). In the name of humane approach for the convicts we cannot exhibit lack of sensitivity for the feelings and sentiments of the weeping relatives of the victim.

2. The prayer must, therefore, be refused. Application shall stand rejected.


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