Nine Youths have been finally granted bail by the Calcutta High Court circiuit bench, after spending 6-years in jail, in an 2017 Gorkhaland Andolan related Case.
The Calcutta High Court Circuit Bench of Partha Sarathi Sen and Arijit Banerjee has finaly given bail to the nine youths Suraj Pradhan, Shyam Kami, Deoraj Lepcha, Mahindra Kami, Firoj Thapa, Ashbin Gurung, Dawa Sherpa @ Dawa Tempa Sherpa, Nabin Rai and Paras Mangar in a case filed in Darjeeling Sadar Police Station Case No. 214 of 2017 (relating to Amitava Malik case). Thanks to the two lawyers Pratap Khati and Vandana Rai who finally filed the bail petition on their behalf.
For the past 6 years, these six youths had been rotting in jail, while others implicated in the same case have been walking free. Noting this, the Court observed, “There is no certainty as to when in the present case, the trial shall commence or conclude. In view of the aforesaid decisions of the Hon’ble Apex Court, we are inclined to enlarge the petitioners on bail…”
Citing the precedents and orders from Supreme Court in the cases of Kashmira Singh – Vs.- State of Punjab, reported in (1977) 4 SCC 291, Akhtari Bi (Smt) – Vs. – State of Madhya Pradesh, reported in (2001) 4 SCC 355, Surinder Singh – Vs.- State of Punjab, reported in (2005) 7 SCC 387 and Hussain & Anr. – Vs. – Union of India, reported in (2017) 5 SCC 702, the High Court observed that “we cannot be unmindful of the importance of Article 21 of the Constitution of India and the principles of law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.”
According to Article 21 “Protection of Life and Personal Liberty: “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.” This fundamental right is available to every person, citizens and foreigners alike.
The court further noted that, “If the trial has not commenced for a very long period of time after the petitioner is taken into custody, in this case more than six years, then in our view, the petitioner should be extended the privilege of bail, of-course on conditions.”
Granting bail, the court has ordered, “we direct that the petitioners, namely Suraj Pradhan, Shyam Kami, Deoraj Lepcha, Mahindra Kami, Firoj Thapa, Ashbin Gurung, Dawa Sherpa @ Dawa Tempa Sherpa, Nabin Rai and Paras Mangar shall be released on bail upon furnishing a bond of Rs.5,000/-each, with two registered sureties of like amount each, to the satisfaction of the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Darjeeling and on further condition that the present accused petitioners shall not leave the district Darjeeling unless permitted by the learned Trial Court and shall appear before the Trial Court on each date of substantive hearing subject to the provisions of Section 317 Cr.P.C. and shall not intimidate the witnesses and/or tamper with evidence and/or commit any cognizable offence in any manner whatsoever.”
Instructing the District Court to take up the trail expeditiously, the High Court orderd, “Considering the delay that has occurred in Darjeeling Sadar P.S. Case No.213 of 2017, learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Darjeeling is hereby directed to take appropriate steps for splitting up the trial and for immediate commitment of the said case to the learned Sessions Judge after complying with all legal formalities.”