A person facing trial cannot be put up in jail for an indefinite period as it is violative of fundamental rights, the Bombay High Court observed in a recent judgement, The Hindu reported on Saturday.

A single-judge bench of Justice Bharati Dangre gave the verdict on September 26, while granting bail to a person named Akash Satish Chandalia in a case of double murder and conspiracy.

“Pending the trial, a person cannot be kept in custody for an indefinite period of time and it clearly violates the fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution, and time and again has been considered to be a justiciable ground to exercise the discretion to release an accused,” the judge noted in the verdict.

The judgement came just two weeks after Justice Dangre, in another murder case, had asked a sessions judge to explain the delay in completing trial despite the High Court’s order in September 2022 to do so within six months. He pulled up the sessions judge for failing to take steps to ensure the presence of witnesses and the accused person at hearings of the case, Bar and Bench reported.

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In the case of the double murder too, the Bombay High Court said that the trial court failed to conclude the trial in a time-bound manner despite its directions. In such circumstances, there was no option but to release the accused person on bail, Justice Dangre said, The Hindu reported.

During the hearing of the case, the counsel of accused person Chandalia told the court that his client had already been in jail for almost eight months and the trial was not over yet.

“Incarceration for an indefinite period will amount to pre-trial conviction and deprivation of personal liberty without ensuring speedy trial is not in consonance with Article 21 of the Constitution and the same is violative of his fundamental right,” Advocate Sana Raees Khan argued.

Chandalia has been accused of conspiring with a gangster to kidnap two people and assaulting them to death, The Hindu reported.

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