The Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted bail to Mohd. Hakim, who has spent more than 12 years as an undertrial in the 2008 Delhi Serial Blasts Case, who was accused of having carried a certain quantity of cycle ball-bearings from Lucknow to Delhi which, according to police, were subsequently used to make IEDs used in the 2008 blasts.
Granting bail to Hakim, the Division Bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani stated: “Courts must not play coroner and attend to legal or constitutional rights only after they are dead. Instead, we must play doctor, and save such rights from demise before they are extinguished.”
“If equity calls upon affected persons to be vigilant to protect their rights, then surely the courts must also be vigilant, and, to quote the Supreme Court, act as sentinels on the qui vive when it comes to protecting constitutional and legal rights,” the Court added.
Senior Advocate Nitya Ramakrishna, appearing for the appellant, submitted that only a limited role has been ascribed to the appellant in the offences alleged, namely, that he had carried a certain quantity of cycle ball-bearings from Lucknow to Delhi. She also brought the court’s attention to the fact that at the time of the offence, Hakim was a college student with no criminal antecedents.
Additional Public Prosecutor Amit Chaddha submitted the offences with which the appellant is charged are grave and heinous, concerning the serial bomb blasts that occurred in different places in Delhi, in which some 26 people died and 135 were injured.
He added, steel ball bearings were also recovered along with other incriminating material from the Batla House premises during the search.
Mohd Hakim’s right to speedy trial continues to be defeated: Court
“Regardless of how much longer the trial may take hereafter, the incarceration of more than 12 years suffered by the appellant in custody as an undertrial would certainly qualify as a long enough period for the system to acknowledge that the appellant’s right to speedy trial continues to be defeated,” the court said.
“Even assuming that the specific role attributed to the appellant in the charge framed vidé order dated 06.05.2011 against him, warrants a life sentence, Section 57 of the IPC provides that in calculating fractions of terms of punishment, imprisonment for life shall be reckoned to be equivalent to imprisonment for 20 years; whereby, it would be reasonable to say, that the appellant has already undergone more than half the sentence.
“In our opinion, the appellant has made-out a case that his right to speedy trial is being defeated and would continue to be violated if he is not enlarged on bail, having already spent more than 12 years in custody as an undertrial.”
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