March 24, 2023

Can’t keep someone in jail indefinitely over national security fears: Supreme Court | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Giving emphasis to “bail, not jail” judicial philosophy, the Supreme Court on Monday said no person can be indefinitely kept in jail with an open-ended investigation by probe agencies on a conjectural apprehension that activities of an accused could involve a larger conspiracy which may prove detrimental to national security.
This observation was made by a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Dinesh Maheshwari while granting bail to Md Enamul Haque, the alleged prime accused in the trans-border cattle smuggling case in which the central agency had also arrested a BSF commandant for his alleged involvement in the smuggling activities, proceeds of which were allegedly paid to political parties and local administration officials.


Appearing for Haque, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said that the CBI has filed a chargesheet in the alleged cattle-smuggling case on February 6, 2021 and followed it up with a supplementary chargesheet on February 21 last year. He said the accused BSF commandant as well as other accused have also been granted bail but the Calcutta High Court had rejected Haque’s bail plea even though he has been in jail for more than one year in an offence which prescribes a maximum punishment of seven years imprisonment.
For the CBI, additional solicitor general Aman Lekhi said the petitioner is the kingpin of a racket involving BSF personnel, customs officials, local police and others for trans-border cattle smuggling through the porous Indo-Bangladesh border.
He also said that Haque evaded a look out notice but he surfaced in West Bengal by reaching West Bengal through land route from Bangladesh, thus, indicating collusion by local police and raising a grave concern for national security.
When he said investigation into a larger conspiracy is still pending, Justices Chandrachud and Maheshwari asked, “This open ended investigation is what we do not comprehend. How detaining a person indefinitely will help in probing larger conspiracy when other accused have been granted bail? Is one year and two months, for which he has been in custody, not enough for probing the larger conspiracy?”
The bench granted Haque bail saying his continued detention was not warranted.

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