Delhi HC: No undertrial can be kept in custody on a hunch or a presumption

Jul25,2020 #Delhi High Court

By Weindrila Sen-

The Delhi High Court today allowed the bail plea of Shivinder Mohan Singh, promoter of the Fortis Healthcare in a money laundering case made the above statement.

 The bail was granted upon the following grounds-

  • a personal bond of INR 1,00,00,000/- and two sureties worth INR 25,00,000/- each from two family members, surrender of the applicant’s passport to the Designated Court,
  • assurance of not leaving the country and ordinarily residing in the place of residence as mentioned in the prison records,
  • furnishing an active contact number where he could be contacted anytime,
  • assurance of cooperation in any further investigation,
  • agreeing to not tamper any evidence or indulge in any unlawful activity.
  • not getting in contact or have any transaction both directly or indirectly with any employee or any financial institution regarding the ongoing trial,
  • disclosure of any opening/closing of bank accounts or incorporation/dissolution of companies, whether in India or abroad, to the Investigating officer within 7 days.

The investigating officer is also asked to request the Bureau of Immigration, Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India to open a ‘Look-out-Circular’ in the name of the applicant, to prevent him from leaving the country without prior intimation to the Special Court.

The Respondent, Enforcement Directorate, opposing the bail plea said that there are chances of the accused to tamper shreds of evidence and influence various witnesses.

Allowing the plea, the bench said-

“Nowhere is it the law that an accused, yet to be tried, is to be kept in custody only on a hunch or a presumption that he will prejudice or impede trial; or to send any message to the society. If anything, the only message that goes-out to the society by keeping an accused in prison before finding him guilty, is that our system works only on impressions and conjectures and can keep an accused in custody even on presumption of guilt. While in certain cases such message may even quench the thirst for revenge of the lay society against a person they believe to be guilty, such action would certainly not leave our criminal justice system awash in glory”.

The bench also mentioned that there was a gap of more than six months between the arrest and registration of the FIR, but no allegation of evidence tampering or influencing any witness was reported against the accused. Further, the Bench, said that the seriousness of the offence is taken into consideration, but that itself cannot be the ground of dismissing the plea.

Read Judgment

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