Bail is rule and jail is exception and “accused should not be detained as pretrial conviction”, the Thane Sessions Court observed recently granting bail to 89 persons accused in the Palghar mob lynching case of April 2020.
Additional Sessions Judge SB Bahalkar granted bail to the accused on the ground that the case might not be taken up for final disposal in the near future.
“No purpose of the prosecution would be solved by keeping the accused behind bars. It is well settled that accused should not be detained as pretrial conviction. Moreover, bail is rule and jail is exception. In the circumstances, presence of the applicants can be secured by imposing certain terms and condition,” the Court said.
On April 16, a village in Maharashtra’s Palghar district witnessed a mob of people lynching three persons including two 70-year-old Sadhus.
The people who were part of the mob were charged with offences punishable under provisions of the Disaster Management Act, Epidemic Disease Act, Maharashtra Police Act and Distraction of Public Property Act through an FIR registered at Kasa Police Station, Palghar.
Special Public Prosecutor Satish Maneshinde submitted that there was prima facie evidence to show that the accused were members of the unlawful assembly and were present at the spot when the incident took place.
The Court was informed that the accused had gathered at the spot only out of curiosity to see what was going on.
It was also pointed out that chargesheet had been filed and weapons were also seized by the investigating officer and, hence further custody was not required.
The Court held that it was not clear as to whether these applicants were members of unlawful assembly or they had gathered there out of curiosity to see what was going on
“In the absence of such substantial material on the record, it would not be just and proper to keep the applicants behind bars,” the Court ordered.