Punjab and Haryana HC presses for orientation courses on fundamental rights to judicial officers - Hindustan Times
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Punjab and Haryana HC presses for orientation courses on fundamental rights to judicial officers

By, Chandigarh
Oct 15, 2023 06:42 AM IST

The court had come across a plea in which a Chandigarh court order was under challenge; the police did not present the challan within statutory period of 60 days and on 61st day, the accused moved an application for default bail and the challan was presented the same evening

Taking note of “impractical and unreasonable” conditions imposed by a trial court judge in a default bail case, the Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the registrar general of the high court to coordinate with the director, judicial academy, Chandigarh, for making arrangements of orientation course on fundamental rights to all judicial officers of district courts in the two states and Chandigarh.

The bench observed that fundamental rights have always been put on a very high pedestal and also the scope of Article 21 is dynamic and is not static in nature. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The bench observed that fundamental rights have always been put on a very high pedestal and also the scope of Article 21 is dynamic and is not static in nature. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“The criminal justice system in India, especially the criminal courts are under an obligation to always keep in their mind the fundamental rights of accused persons especially when they are undertrials and presumed to be innocent at that stage. For the purposes of considering bail matters, the fundamental rights especially under Article 21 of the Constitution have to be always kept in mind since the personal liberty of an individual is involved,” the bench of justice JS Puri said.

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The court had come across a plea in which a Chandigarh court order was under challenge. The police did not present the challan within statutory period of 60 days and on 61st day, the accused moved an application for default bail and the challan was presented the same evening. However, the next day, the court granted him bail on a condition that by 4.30 pm on that day, he would present a bail bond worth 1 lakh and one surety.

As per the plea, this order was passed at 3.45 pm and he had to arrange a surety within 45 minutes. The person who came forward for surety was not allowed as he had already taken an undertaking for some other accused person. When the matter was taken up at 4.30 pm, the court recorded that since he failed to furnish a surety, his right stood “extinguished” and release order was not passed. He challenged the order before the revisional court, however, the plea was dismissed. It was against this order that the accused had approached the high court pleading that his personal liberty was involved and despite that he had gained a statutory right to be free, his right was defeated arbitrarily by passing of erroneous orders by the trial court.

The high court allowed him the default bail and quashed the order, wherein the condition of furnishing a surety by 4.30 pm was incorporated and it also reduced surety amount to 10,000.

Taking note of facts of the case, the court observed that there appeared a dire necessity of further enlightening the judicial officers of Punjab and Haryana states and Chandigarh due to dynamism in the scope of Article 21 of the Constitution (right to life).

“…the judicial officers of district courts who deal with the personal liberty of accused persons every day should have full expertise not only on the practical aspects but also on the academic aspects pertaining to these rights since a balance has to be struck every time when any matter for grant of bail is considered,” it said advocating for orientation course with the help of experts in the field of constitutional law and the Constitution.

The bench observed that fundamental rights have always been put on a very high pedestal and also the scope of Article 21 is dynamic and is not static in nature. It has now evolved over a period of time by various judicial precedents laid down by the Supreme Court that the right to life and personal liberty includes all varieties of life which go to “make the personal liberty of a person and not merely the right to continuation of a person as an animal existence,” it added.

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