HC: Can’t deny bail as pre-trial punishment or to douse anger | India News – Times of India

NAGPUR: Bail cannot be refused either as pre-trial punishment or to cater to or douse the collective anger and outrage of the society, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court said on Wednesday.
“Despite the existence of a prima facie case, bail can be granted particularly if the offence is not punishable with death or life imprisonment. Unless there is some material in prosecution’s possession to suggest that the petitioner, albeit under suspension, will flee from the course of justice or will subvert the trial or influence witnesses, there is no purpose in continuing incarceration,” justice Rohit Deo said before granting bail to Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Vinod Shivkumar.
Shivkumar, who was arraigned as prime accused in the suicide of range forest officer (RFO) Deepali Chavan, approached the HC through counsel Firdos Mirza after Achalpur sessions court denied him bail. He was arrested on the basis of three letters sent by the deceased to former additional chief conservator of forest MS Reddy (also made an accused in the case) along with her mother and husband, alleging harassment meted out by Shivkumar, who was her immediate superior.
The bench noted that the existence of a prima facie case is not the only consideration governing grant or refusal to provide bail, since the accused is not charged with commission of offence punishable with death or life sentence. “The gravity of offence, status of the accused, possibility of him not being available or otherwise to face the trial, the propensity or the potential to influence the course of trial, are some of the relevant considerations,” the bench observed.
Justice Deo pointed out that no material was brought to his notice to suggest that the petitioner or any other IFS member made any attempt to influence the witnesses. He had asked the prosecution to submit evidence that Shivkumar was protected and helped by other IFS members.

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