Bombay High Court has granted bail to Rhea Chakraborty. The arguments in the matter were heard over seven days ago and now judgement is pronounced granting bail to her. There is a problem in the order.
Right to liberty is absolute:
As per the constitution, the right to liberty is absolute subject only to restrictions by a valid law. In this case the court took over seven days to decide, if Rhea Chakraborty was entitled to be free. Is that reasonable?
Justice delayed is justice denied:
I had pointed out that the requirement for bail under NDPS Act is very strict and it is almost a mini verdict on innocence. Section 37 of NDPS Act requires that the court must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that s/he is not guilty of such offence. Now the judge has granted bail we have to assume that there was nothing on record to link her with the offence. We can not go into merits of the judgement. The reasons why Rhea should not be granted bail are already discussed here and I am surprised by the order which I have not read as yet.
Justice Sarang Vijaykumar Kotwal of Bombay High Court has delivered the verdict after deliberating for seven days. Here is the problem.
Infact three problems:
If Rhea was innocent or appears to be innocent, why she had to spend 7 days in prison after the learned Judge had heard the arguments. The detailed judgements are often written later but an accused is set free immediately. Idea is that liberty of an innocent person is sacrosanct.
The delay of 7 days in writing an order granting bail is unusual. It raises a question mark on the competence of the judge. But Justice Kotwal is a fine judge and from what I have heard is that he is very competent judge. So we can rule out incompetence. That takes us to third problem.
3. Elaborate reasoning:
An order granting bail is not an elaborate judgement in which evidence is to be meticulously weighed and evaluated. It is a bird eye view of the matter as the case is still at investigation stage and this particular witness has tried to influence everyone by TV interview. Of course the court can restrain her from appearing on TV or to issue statements but the point is why it took 7 days. If the court could not make up it’s mind for 7 days than benefit of doubt should go in favour of prosecution. The innocence has to be untainted and not to be established by process of elaborate reasoning. It takes less time to discover that there is no evidence and it takes lot of time to discredit evidence. What happened here?
For all these reasons, this order must be challenged by prosecution as it sets bad precedent. But that depends on the merits of the case as well. Does NCB has sufficient evidence to connect her to drug trade?