The Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted bail to a person accused under several charges, including those under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, in a case related to serial blasts in the national Capital in 2008, PTI reported.
On September 13, 2008, serial explosions took place at Ghaffar Market, Greater Kailash 1 and Barakhamba Road areas in Delhi, leaving 26 people dead. As many as 135 people were injured.
Mohammed Hakim, was accused of transporting materials which were allegedly used to make the improvised explosive devices used in the blasts, The Indian Express reported. He had spent over 12 years in custody as an undertrial.
On Wednesday, Hakim’s lawyer Nitya Ramakrishnan argued before the Delhi High Court that her client’s right to a quick trial was being violated.
The bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup Jairam Bhambhani observed that even if they assumed that Hakim would be awarded a life sentence after the completion of the trial, he had already undergone more than half the sentence he may eventually face.
“Courts must not play coroner and attend to legal or constitutional rights only after they are dead,” Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup Jairam Bhambhani said. “Instead we must play doctor, and save such rights from demise before they are extinguished.”
The court also refused to assume that Hakim might be awarded capital punishment, saying that the death sentence was for rarest of rare cases and could not be treated as the default punishment.
The judges added that Hakim deserved to get his liberty back.
“It cannot be ignored that as of now, the appellant has undergone punishment for more than a decade of his life, for an alleged offence for which he has not yet been found guilty,” they said, according to a copy of the order viewed by Scroll.in
The judges added that courts must be proactive in protecting the rights of undertrials.
“If equity calls upon affected persons to be vigilant to protect their rights, then surely the courts must also be vigilant,” they added.