Naroda Patiya: Babu Bajrangi seventh convict to get bail from SC, third on Medical Grounds
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Naroda Patiya: Babu Bajrangi seventh convict to get bail from SC, third on Medical Grounds

Murali Krishnan

Bajrangi had sought bail contending that he is 100 percent blind and also suffers from hearing loss. It was also submitted that he is not in a position to move on his own, and that he requires assistance for carrying out his day-to-day activities. The Gujarat government did not oppose the same, submitting that the medical certificates submitted by Bajrangi are authentic and that the contentions regarding the ailments suffered by him are correct. The Court noted that Bajrangi was on bail during the trial and there was nothing on record to indicate that he had violated any bail condition during the time he was out on bail. It, therefore, proceeded to grant bail to him subject to the conditions imposed by the trial court. But Babu Bajrangi is not the first convict in Naroda Patiya case to be granted bail by Supreme Court on medical grounds.

Babu Bajrangi (Image source: Jagran)
Babu Bajrangi (Image source: Jagran)

Order of December 4, 2018

In an order passed on December 4 last year, the Court had granted bail to two accused in the Naroda Patiya massacre, Kishan Khobchand Korani and Manojbhai @Manoj Sindhi on medical grounds. The Court had placed reliance on High Court orders passed in this regard which had set out details of ailments suffered by the two accused. Medical certificates in this regard were issued by Gujarat Cancer & Research Institute and Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad respectively for Korani and Sindhi.

Kishan Khobchand Korani (Accused no. 20)

The court, in this case, noted the order of Gujarat High Court passed on August 3, 2016. In the said order, the High Court had noted that a certificate was produced by Chief RMO, Gujarat Cancer & Research Institute. As per the same, Korani developed metastasis in the liver for which he was operated in Apollo Hospital. Subsequently, he developed metastasis in the residual liver. The High Court order reads:

“As per the certificate issued by the Chief R.M.O., the Gastrointestinal stromal tumor was primary diagnosis, subsequently, the applicant developed metastasis in liver for which he was operated in Apollo Hospital. Now, he has developed metastasis in residual liver. This is due to systematic spread of the tumor which is considered as hematogenous spread. The certificate further states that GIST is a disease which can still spread due to microscopic tumor embolus and that the development of compression fracture at L1 vertebra may affect the lower limb movement of the patient. It is further stated that to the best of the knowledge of the authorities, treatment for cancer as has been suggested cannot be provided at the jail hospital.”

Based on the above the High Court had granted him bail stating the following:

“….considering the condition of the applicant, which reveals that he is not in a position to perform his routine activities and that the jail authorities would not be in a position to provide him proper medical treatment, the court is inclined to exercise discretion in favour of the applicant.”

This above order was noted by the Supreme Court in its order passed December 4, 2018. The Supreme Court also stated in its order that the medical condition of the appellant remains the same. It also noted that Korani had not jumped any condition of bail laid down in High Court order.

“The medical condition of the accused-appellant No.1 remains the same. It is submitted that, in fact, it has worsened over a period of time, as is noticed from the medical record referred to in Crl.M.P. No.174209 of 2018. Besides, there is nothing to show that the appellant No.1 had jumped any condition of bail as specified in paragraph 5 of the High Court order.

The Court, therefore, granted bail to Korani stating

“In view of the above, we grant bail to accused-appellant No.1 (Kishan Khubchand Korani) to the satisfaction of the trial court on the same conditions as imposed by the High Court noted above during the pendency of this appeal. Ordered accordingly.”

Manojbhai @ Manoj Sindhi (Accused No. 41)

Bail was granted to him by Supreme Court on very similar grounds as Korani. The Supreme Court adverted to the order passed by the Gujarat High Court on September 29, 2016. As per the said order of the High Court, a medical report of Inquiry Committee of Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad indicated that Sindhi is not in a position to move his right side limbs, does not sit or turn around or hold his head.

The said medical report set out a series of medical problems faced by Sindhi.

“The report further reveals that the applicant is required to use a catheter and is on treatment for diabetes in the form of Insulin injections, on antibiotics for urinary tract infection, antihypertensives, antiepileptics and dual antiplatelets and that the MRI of the brain indicates that there is a marginal increase in the size of few white matter lesions with appearance of few new lesions which show signs of progression of a new disease. The report also shows that the applicant requires assistance to carry out his daily routine activities.”

The High Court had, therefore, granted him bail on the ground that he is suffering from Paralysis and is disabled to the extent of 80% and is not in a position to carry out his day to day activities on his own.

The Supreme Court noted that the medical condition of the accused-appellant remained the same. It, therefore, passed a very similar order as was passed in the case of Korani granting him bail.

“The medical condition of the accused-appellant No.2 remains the same. It is submitted that, in fact, it has worsened over a period of time, as is noticed from the medical record referred to in Crl.M.P. No.174209 of 2018. Besides, there is nothing to show that the appellant No.2 had jumped any condition of bail as specified in paragraph 5 of the High Court order dated 29.09.2016…

In view of the above, we grant bail to accused-appellant No.2 (Manojbhai @ Manoj Sindhi) to the satisfaction of the trial Court on the same conditions as imposed by the High Court noted above during the pendency of this appeal. Ordered accordingly”

Order of January 22, 2019

Aside from the above two convicts, four others were also granted bail by the Supreme Court in the Naroda Patiya case albeit on different grounds

This was by way of an order passed on January 22, 2019.

Umeshbhai Surabhai Bharwad (Accused no. 3)

The Court noted that it was not in dispute that after a full-fledged trial, the applicant was acquitted by the trial court on the finding that he has been named by only two police officials. His name was not mentioned in the FIR. The police officials named him after a gap of four days from the date of incident claiming to have seen the applicant in a group of around 15,000 persons gathered at the scene of offence. No identification parade was conducted in respect of this applicant. The High Court reversed the acquittal only on the basis of evidence of two police witnesses, the Supreme court said in its order.

This approach of the High Court is debatable, the Supreme Court held. The Supreme Court also observed that the applicant was on bail during the trial and has already undergone a sentence of around 9½ months. He has been convicted only for offence punishable maximum with ten years under Section 436 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). Further, there is nothing on record to indicate that the applicant had jumped the conditions of bail. It was also seen from the record that the applicant is undergoing HIV treatment. Hence, taking “an overall view of the matter”, the Court allowed the bail application of Bharwad.

Rajkumar @ Raju (accused no. 24)

Rajkumar had been acquitted by the Trial Court but the High Court had reversed the acquittal on the basis that the witnesses have established the presence of the applicant at the scene of offence. The High Court further observed that even in absence of any specific role attributed to the applicant his presence being established, the charge of being a member of the unlawful assembly must hold good.

The Supreme Court order reads:

This bail application is filed by accused No. 24 –Rajkumar @ Raju. The High Court has reversed the acquittal order passed by the Trial Court on the finding that the witnesses have established the presence of the applicant at the scene of offence. The High Court further observed that even in absence of any specific role attributed to the applicant his presence being established, the charge of being a member of the unlawful assembly must hold good.””

The Supreme Court went on to state that this approach of the High Court is doubtful especially when the witnesses relied upon by the prosecution are police officials and no Identification Parade of this applicant was conducted during the investigation by the Police.

“Prima facie, we find this approach to be doubtful, especially when the witnesses relied upon by the prosecution are police officials and no Identification Parade of this applicant was conducted during the investigation by the Police.”

Identifying the applicant in court by police officials (witnesses) cannot take the matter any further, unless they had known him personally in the past. Moreover, the presence of applicant is stated to be in the group of around fifteen thousand persons gathered at the scene of offence”.

The Court, therefore, granted him bail.

Padmendrasinh Jaswantsinh Rajput (Accused no. 19)

As was the case with Rajkumar, Rajput too had been acquitted by the Trial Court with the High Court overturning the same on the finding that the witnesses have established the presence of the applicant at the scene of offence. The High Court had further observed that even in absence of any specific role attributed to the applicant his presence being established, the charge of being a member of the unlawful assembly must hold good. The Supreme Court stated that this approach of the High Court is very doubtful especially when the witnesses relied upon by the prosecution are police officials and no Identification Parade of this applicant was conducted during the investigation by the Police. The Supreme Court order in this regard is very similar to that passed in the application of Rajkumar. The order reads:

“This bail application is filed by accused No. 19 – Padmendrasinh Jaswantsinh Rajput. The High Court has reversed the acquittal order passed by the Trial Court on the finding that the witnesses have established the presence of the applicant at the scene of offence. The High Court further observed that even in absence of any specific role attributed to the applicant his presence being established, the charge of being a member of the unlawful assembly must hold good. Prima facie, we find this approach to be doubtful, especially when the witnesses relied upon by the prosecution are police officials and no Identification Parade of this applicant was conducted during the investigation by the Police. Identifying the applicant in court by police officials (witnesses) cannot take the matter  any further, unless they had known him personally in the past. Moreover, the presence of applicant  is stated to be in the group of around fifteen thousand persons gathered at the scene of offence.”

The Supreme Court, therefore, granted bail to Rajput.

Harshad @ Mungda Jila Govind Chhara Parmar (accused No.39)

In this case, the accused had been convicted for offence punishable with 10 years maximum sentence period. He had already undergone more than 5 years of actual imprisonment. The Court noted the same and granted him bail on the ground that hearing of the appeal is not likely to take place in the immediate near future.

“Admittedly, the applicant namely, Harshad @ Mungda Jila Govind Chhara Parmar (accused No.39) has been convicted for offence punishable with 10 years maximum sentence period and he has already undergone more than 5 years of actual imprisonment coupled with the fact that the hearing of the appeal is not likely to take place in the immediate near future.”

Read the orders below.

Order of December 4, 2018

Naroda-Patiya-order-December-4-2018.pdf
Preview

Order of January 22, 2019

Naroda-Patiya-order-January-22-2019.pdf
Preview
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