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SC Challenges Practice of Keeping Individuals in Jail with Supplementary Chargesheets

SC Challenges Practice of Keeping Individuals in Jail with Supplementary Chargesheets

The Supreme Court has raised concerns about the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filing supplementary charge sheets to prevent accused individuals from obtaining default bail and keeping them incarcerated indefinitely. Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta expressed unease over this practice, emphasizing that the purpose of default bail is to prevent arrests until investigations are complete and trials can begin promptly.

The court pointed out that under current laws, an arrested person is entitled to default bail if investigations or final charge sheets are not completed within specified timelines outlined in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), typically ranging from 60 to 90 days. The justices highlighted that filing supplementary charge sheets solely to deny default bail rights is against the spirit of the law and deprives individuals of their fundamental right to a fair trial.

This issue came to light during a bail plea hearing related to an illegal mining case in Jharkhand involving Prem Prakash, an associate of former Chief Minister Hemant Soren. Prakash had been in custody for 18 months on money laundering charges. The court noted that lengthy incarcerations without trials raise constitutional concerns under Article 21, which guarantees the right to personal liberty.

The ED argued against granting bail, citing concerns about tampering with evidence or witnesses if the accused were released. However, the court stressed the importance of balancing these concerns with an individual's right to liberty, particularly in cases where prolonged detentions occur without substantial progress in trials.

The court's observations on default bail and the misuse of supplementary charge sheets have broader implications, especially for high-profile cases involving opposition leaders arrested by investigative agencies. The court emphasized that constitutional rights, including the right to bail, cannot be arbitrarily curtailed, even under provisions like Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The judiciary's scrutiny of these practices is significant, particularly amid allegations of political targeting by investigative agencies. The court's decision to deny interim bail to Prem Prakash reflects a cautious approach, with proceedings scheduled to assess trial progress regularly, ensuring that justice is served within a reasonable timeframe.

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SC Challenges Practice of Keeping Individuals in Jail with Supplementary Chargesheets

SC Challenges Practice of Keeping Individuals in Jail with Supplementary Chargesheets

The Supreme Court has raised concerns about the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filing supplementary charge sheets to prevent accused individuals from obtaining default bail and keeping them incarcerated indefinitely. Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta expressed unease over this practice, emphasizing that the purpose of default bail is to prevent arrests until investigations are complete and trials can begin promptly.

The court pointed out that under current laws, an arrested person is entitled to default bail if investigations or final charge sheets are not completed within specified timelines outlined in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), typically ranging from 60 to 90 days. The justices highlighted that filing supplementary charge sheets solely to deny default bail rights is against the spirit of the law and deprives individuals of their fundamental right to a fair trial.

This issue came to light during a bail plea hearing related to an illegal mining case in Jharkhand involving Prem Prakash, an associate of former Chief Minister Hemant Soren. Prakash had been in custody for 18 months on money laundering charges. The court noted that lengthy incarcerations without trials raise constitutional concerns under Article 21, which guarantees the right to personal liberty.

The ED argued against granting bail, citing concerns about tampering with evidence or witnesses if the accused were released. However, the court stressed the importance of balancing these concerns with an individual's right to liberty, particularly in cases where prolonged detentions occur without substantial progress in trials.

The court's observations on default bail and the misuse of supplementary charge sheets have broader implications, especially for high-profile cases involving opposition leaders arrested by investigative agencies. The court emphasized that constitutional rights, including the right to bail, cannot be arbitrarily curtailed, even under provisions like Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The judiciary's scrutiny of these practices is significant, particularly amid allegations of political targeting by investigative agencies. The court's decision to deny interim bail to Prem Prakash reflects a cautious approach, with proceedings scheduled to assess trial progress regularly, ensuring that justice is served within a reasonable timeframe.

 
 
 
 
 

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