1983 verdict may help Sanjay Dutt get bail
From correspondents in Delhi, India, 07:03 PM IST
As the Supreme Court Monday hears Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt's bail plea, a verdict of the same court earlier granting temporary bail to a convict in the absence of the trial court's detailed order may come handy for him.
The ruling on which Dutt's lawyers base their hopes was given by a five-judge constitution bench of the apex court in December 1983.
The case relates to the preventive detention of Akali leader Jagdev Singh Talwandi, sent to jail by the Punjab government on apprehension of breach of peace owing to his consistent opposition to late Khalistani leader Jarnail Singh Bhidrawale.
The government, however, had not supported its act of jailing Talwandi with a reasoned judgment.
Talwandi had approached the apex court to challenge his preventive detention, saying the government's failure to supply him a detailed, reasoned order for putting him in jail was violation of the mandatory provisions under Section 363 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
This section entitles a jailed convict to a detailed reasoned judgment, elaborating the grounds of his conviction and imprisonment.
The five-judge constitution bench had readily granted bail to Talwandi, saying that violation of the mandatory provision of Section 363 amounted to violating the fundamental right to life and liberty enshrined in Article 21 of the constitution.
In his petition, Dutt too has made the Mumbai anti-terror court's failure to supply him the detailed ruling elaborating the reasons of his conviction a major ground for bail.
Dutt has contended that this was in violation of Section 363 of CrPC, which entitles him to a copy of the detailed judgment at the time of conviction.
He said that this novel procedure of the court of imposing sentences on the convicts without handing them the reasoned judgment has impinged upon their fundamental right to life and liberty.
Convicted Nov 11, 2006, on charges of possessing illegal fire arms in the run-up to the Mumbai serial bombings of March 1993, Dutt was sentenced to a six-year jail term July 31, 2007.
Presently serving his term in Pune's Yerwada jail, the popular actor had been taken in custody soon after the pronouncement of the sentence without having been given a detailed, reasoned verdict, spelling out the grounds of his conviction as the same was not ready at the time of his sentencing.
He then moved the apex court seeking bail and challenging his conviction under the Arms Act.
Earlier while seeking an early bail for Dutt on Aug 10, senior counsel Fail S. Nariman had referred to the apex court 1983 ruling in the Talwandi case.
In response, the bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan had assured him that it would examine the impact of its constitution bench's judgment on Dutt's case as well.
Karan Singh, a member of Dutt's legal team, told IANS that he hoped the apex court would readily grant interim bail to the actor following the trial court's failure to supply him its detailed judgement at the time of jailing him.
Dutt, among Bollywood's most popular actors especially after the success of 'Lage Raho Munnabhai' last year, has a number of film projects on hand to complete.