Drug laws in India are very strict. If prosecution makes out the foundation of charge against an accused, burden of proving innocence is upon the accused. The judge before granting bail has to assure itself that accused appears to be innocent. This position under NDPS law is different from ordinary laws of the land. (For more on Criminal Laws of India read my book here)
Bail in Narcotics case:
The exercise of power to grant bail by the Special Judge is not only subject to the limitations prescribed by Section 439 of Central Cr.P.C. but is also subject to the limitations prescribed by Sec.37 which opens with non-obstante clause. Under section 37 of the Act bail to an accused, who is alleged to have committed an offence under section 19, 24 or 27A and also for offences involving commercial quantity cannot be granted unless the two conditions enumerated in the section are satisfied.
The first condition is that the prosecution must be given an opportunity to oppose the application and second that the court must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that s/he is not guilty of such offence. If either of these two conditions is not satisfied, bail cannot be granted.
Charges against Rhea Chakraborty:
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has alleged that actress Rhea Chakraborty (Rhea Chakraborty) was an active member of the drug syndicate, which included many well-known people and drug suppliers from high societies. NCB has said that Riya Chakraborty is accused of promoting drugs consumption by late actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
Was Salman Khan given special treatment?
‘Procedure is hand maid to justice’ is a famous quote from a judgment delivered by Justice Krishna Iyyer, a former Supreme Court Judge. More so, it was observed in a case arising from the scope of discretion to grant bail to an accused. With the above quoted sentence Justice Iyyer was reminding that procedure must not obstruct the justice rather it must serve justice like a maid. That observation was made decades ago but little has changed except for the worse.
I received a joke by texting which referred to grant of bail to Salman Khan, by mentioning his application in High Court without impugned order. Joke is: Continue reading
While the debate on eradication of corruption goes on it omits one important aspect i.e. the corruption for money is not the only kind of corruption. There are many other forms of corruptions. Actually to be corrupt is to be biased in favour of somebody who could be a person or even class of persons. While favouring somebody for money is apparently taken as corrupt, favouring a class of persons is easily passed as irregular. In fact the expression ‘subjective bias’ has been rendered completely non-existent. If a judge is suffering from a subjective bias, litigant should have an opportunity to take the case away from such judge on the ground of subjective bias but in practice it is never done. The lawyers in fact are afraid to mention it so as not to invite the wrath of the concerned judge and rather try to exploit this bias if possible. There are many examples. A long time ago a media nick named a judge as ‘Green Judge’ which actually meant that he was favouring environmental causes. It was taken as a compliment but in my view it was reflective of subjective bias. See the following comment:
He broke new legal ground in environmental law (earning the sobriquet ‘green’ judge) and gave a fresh dimension to human rights litigation while dealing with alleged police atrocities in Punjab (for which his detractors termed him ‘Khalistani‘ judge). Post-retirement, his crusading zeal has not dimmed and he is teeming with ideas for judicial reform.(via http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?202888)
Similarly another article talks about the bias of another judge in favour of politicians:
One reason, perhaps, why the judge of the special CBI court makes it a point to stress that the rule of law “should be applied equally to everyone”. In the hawala case, he pulled up the CBI for following “a policy of pick and choose in arresting one set of accused and not arresting the other set of accused. Said he: “It is not that our country has two sets of law, one for highly-placed public servants and the other for ordinary citizens”.
Ironically, he has not been able to practice this avowed commitment to uniformity in applying the law, say lawyers at Delhi’s Tis Hazari district courts. They point out that while Gupta sent bureaucrats involved in the hawala case to jail, politicians have been granted bail. Said one lawyer: “Members of one class, be it politicians or bureaucrats, are being treated equally, but different classes are being treated differently”. ( via http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?201077)
It would be high time that the debate should be started over the subjective bias of the holders of public office including judges. Otherwise Late Palkiwala would be right in observing that equality is only in graveyard. But is it really there? Because no two tomb stones are equal.
© Sandeep Bhalla