A Jammu and Kashmir court on Monday rejected the bail plea of a man accused of posing himself as police/army personnel to harass, threaten and demand valuables/cash from young couples in North Kashmir's Baramulla district (UT of Jammu and Kashmir V/s Shams-ud-din Khan & Ors).
The order was passed by Judicial Magistrate 1st Class Boniyar Shahber Ayaz.
The police report revealed that inputs were received by the police from reliable sources that at village Chehlan, one M Ilyas Khan (accused no. 2) along with some other persons were secretly making videos of people particularly young couples who come to visit the lower Jhelum on mobile phones by posing as police/army personnel.
They used to beat such visitors, harass them and demand and snatch valuables and cash from them by threatening them of legal action if they don't give in to their demands.
Subsequently, a criminal case was registered by the police against three accused persons for offences under Sections 384 (extortion), 341 (wrongful restraint), 354 (assault with intent to outrage modesty), 419 (cheating by personation), 506 (criminal intimidation), 34 of Indian Penal Code.
Out of the three accused, one (accused no. 1) was found working in Army GDHC.
The police nabbed accused no. 2 and 3 and seized their mobile phones in which many recorded audio and video clips and chats were found.
The Court specifically referred to an instance wherein accused no.1 misused his official uniform and ID card and went to Baramulla to harass the girl and threatened her for favours.
The Court said that while basic rule is bail and not the jail and the accused person shall be deemed innocent until proved guilty but at the same time the bail cannot be granted as a matter of routine in all cases, especially in those cases where public interest and public property are involved.
"In the facts and circumstances of the case, I am of the considered opinion that this is a fit case for invoking exception to the general rule. The personal liberty guaranteed to the accused is undoubtedly a valuable right of the accused person guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution but same can be refused in accordance with the procedure established under law. The right to liberty of an individual needs to be balanced against the interest of whole society and the interest of society is to be preferred over the individual interest," the Court said.
The Court further noted that the offences alleged against the accused person could have an unhealthy effect on society and adversely impact personal liberty of individuals.
"The law expects the judiciary to be alert while admitting this kind of accused person to be at large and, therefore, the emphasis is on exercise of discretion judiciously and not in a whimsical manner," the judge said while rejecting the bail plea of accused no. 2.