The Supreme Court Thursday cancelled the bail granted to a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA’s husband, Govind Singh, an accused in the two-year-old murder case of Congress leader Devendra Chourasia.
A division bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hrishikesh Roy reproached the Madhya Pradesh police for being complicit in shielding the accused, while pointing out that the accused Singh was provided security by the state.
Govind Singh had also been convicted in a murder case in the past. The Madhya Pradesh High Court, however, in 2016 suspended his sentence pending his appeal. Two applications for cancellation of bail were filed by the petitioner-son of the deceased Devendra Chourasia, as well as by the State of Madhya Pradesh. It was alleged that while on bail, Govind Singh had murdered Chourasia.
Singh was not arrested for that murder until the Supreme Court on March 26 warned the state DGP of the contempt proceedings.
“The DGP was sanguine in informing this court that the second respondent (Govind Singh) could not be arrested despite the directions issued by this Court. It was only after this Court issued a peremptory direction indicating recourse to the coercive arm of law that the second respondent was arrested, ostensibly from a bus stand. The material on the record indicates that an effort has been made to shield the accused from the administration of criminal justice”, the court said.
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The accused was also summoned by the Additional Sessions Judge(ASJ) in Chourasia’s murder case. An arrest warrant had also been issued yet he continued to abscond. In fact, the ASJ R P Sonkar, posted at district Damoh alleged harassment by the Superintendent of Police, Damoh.
The Supreme Court expressed displeasure at the high court for allowing the accused who allegedly committed murder during the period when his sentence was suspended, to continue on bail until his claim that he was being falsely implicated was first investigated in 90 days.
“In adopting such a procedure, the High Court has clearly transgressed into an unusual domain. The High Court has in effect stultified the administration of criminal justice”, the top court said.
It added the high court had failed in its duty to ensure that the sanctity of the criminal justice process is preserved.
Taking strong exception to the attempt made to pressurise the ASJ, the Supreme Court said the judiciary should be immune from political pressures and considerations. “A judiciary that is susceptible to such pressures allows politicians to operate with impunity and incentivizes criminality to flourish in the political apparatus of the State,” it said.
“India cannot have two parallel legal systems, “one for the rich and the resourceful and those who wield political power and influence and the other for the small men without resources and capabilities to obtain justice or fight injustice,” the court said.
It asked the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court to inquire into the apprehension raised by the ASJ that he was being pressurized by the Superintendent of Police, Damoh, together with his subordinates. He expressed apprehension that the accused who were “highly influential political persons” had raised false allegations against him and applied for the transfer of the pending case which was dismissed by the District Judge after it was found to be false. The judge apprehended that he may be subjected to an “unpleasant incident” in the future.
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