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P&H HC: Denying Bail to Aged Not Justifiable

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punjab and haryana high court Law Insider

Debangana Ray

Published on August 6, 2022 at 19:03 IST

In a judgment liable to change the way the aged in conflict with law are dealt with, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that it was “hazardous to deny bail to people over a particular age”.

The High Court took into consideration the fact that life expectancy of an Indian was under 70 and meting out harsh treatments to them for setting an example for society would only tantamount to cruelty.

Justice Chitkara’s ruling came in a case where an octogenarian was seeking bail in a murder case.

He further asserted the purpose of sentencing was two-fold — deterrence and retribution.

It was intended to send a strong message to the people not to violate the law enacted by the state.

Simultaneously, the intent was to console and assure the victims regarding the justice system put in place by the state and preventing the takeover of law by the people into their own hands.

But the entire exercise lost its purpose when an older person was involved.

The only exceptions were in cases of extreme perversity, extremely heinous crime, mass slaughters, or recidivists refusing to mend their ways to blend with the community without disrupting the social order.

Granting bail, the HC observed nine persons armed with weapons, including the petitioner carrying a stick, assaulted the victim.

The petitioner was of the age where it could safely be assumed that he was in possession of a “lathi” as means to support as opposed to a weapon intended to kill a person.