Palghar Lynching Case Bail Granted to 89 accused: “Justice is blind and, at times, deaf.”

Palghar Lynching Case Bail Granted to 89 accused:Justice is blind and, at times, deaf.”

In the Palghar Lynching case, Thane Sessions Court held – Bail is a rule and jail is an exception.

The Thane Sessions Court ‘Additional Sessions Judge SB Bahalkar’ grants bail to 89 accused in Palghar lynching case.

The Court also observed that it was unclear whether the accused were members of the unlawful assembly at Palghar or had gathered at the spot just out of curiosity.

Accused should not be detained as pretrial conviction and Bail is the rule and jail is an exception and the Thane Sessions Court observed recently granting bail to 89 persons accused in the Palghar mob lynching case of April 2020.

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The LD. Additional Sessions Judge granted bail to the accused on the ground that the case might not be taken up for final disposal in the near future.

The Court held that there is 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 a pretrial conviction. In the circumstances, the presence of the applicants can be secured by imposing certain terms and conditions. The Court said that no purpose of the prosecution would be solved by keeping the accused behind bars.

Brief Facts of the Case

On April 16, a village in Maharashtra’s Palghar district witnessed a mob of people lynching three persons including two 70-year-old Sadhus, and assaulted them to kill.

The people who were part of the mob were charged with offenses punishable 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in connection with C.R.No.I­76/2020 U/Secs. 302, 307, 120­B, 353, 332,  341, 342, 427, 109, 117, 143, 144, 145, 147, 148, 149, 152, 153, 188, 201, 269,  270, 271, 290, and   505(2) r.w. Sec.34 of the Indian   Penal   Code,   U/Secs.   51(B),   52   and   54   of the   Disaster Management Act, 2005, U/Secs. 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the Epidemic Disease   Act,   1897,     U/Sec.135   r.w.   Sec.37(1)(3)   of the Maharashtra Police Act and U/Secs. 3 & 5 of the Distraction of Public Property Act registered at  Kasa Police Station, Palghar.

During the proceedings, the 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.

The prosecution case in short is as follows:­

On   16/04/2020   PSI   Sudhir   Katare   along with other police persons had been on duty at Kasa Police Station.  At about 22.00 hours API Anandrao Kale received a phone call whereby he got information that there had been a big mob at Gadchinchale Chowkypada, near Forest checknaka and some persons out of the said mob have stopped one car and persons sitting therein.

Immediately after receiving the said information, the informant along with other police staff went to   Gadchinchale by, government vehicle at about 22.18 hours.  At that time persons namely     Vilas   Dev   Choudhary,   Jagdish   Lahu   Bhavar,   Vinesh Dharma Bhavar, Vijay Raghu Garud, Vishram Kashiram Sathe, Prakash Rishya Savar, Sanjay Nathal Savar, Ajay Jankya Borsa, Sunil   Gangaram   Borsa, and other   400   to   500   people were Gathered there.     The informant asked them as to why they gathered there when the lockdown was going on.     The informant asked them to leave the spot immediately.  At that time he saw one   Eco   Car bearing   No.MH­02­BW­6729   was lying there in a turtled position.   Therefore, he went near the car to see whether anybody was there in the car.  He found 3 persons in the said car.  He took out them and enquired with them about their names.     They disclosed their names as   (1)   Sushilgiri Maharaj, (2) Chikne Maharaj, and (3) Nilesh Telgade who was the driver of the said car.  They further disclosed that their Guru passed away at Nasik, hence, they were proceeding by the said road.   However, the mob thought that those persons are not Sadhus, but they are thieves.  The persons gathered in the mob were having sticks, iron rods, axes, and stones in their hands. The persons in the mob assaulted them with various weapons and attempted to kill them and then turned turtle into their car.

Therefore, the informant attempted to take those Sadhus in the government vehicle. At the same time, 7 to 8 persons out of the said mob rushed towards the informant, caught hold collar of his uniform, and beat him with sticks.   The said persons also beat police head­constable by sticks.   The mob was resisting police persons not to take those Sadhus in the police van.  At that time, other police persons also gathered there and asked the people in the mob to leave the spot immediately.   However, the people involved in the mob did not listen to them and assaulted police persons also and attempted to kill said Sadhus and the driver of their car.  The informant lodged FIR about the incident.  Accordingly, crime vide   C.R.No.I­76/2020   came to be registered. The applicants came to be arrested. Now they are in judicial custody.

The Court ordered: It was also pointed out that charge sheet 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”.


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