May 20, 2021 12:01:34 pm
A Delhi court Wednesday granted bail to two brothers accused of hoarding oxygen concentrators and selling them at an exorbitant price observing that “in this country, it would be quite contrary to the concept of personal liberty” that any persons should be punished when he has not been convicted.
Additional Sessions Judge Naveen Kumar Kashyap, who granted bail to Ayush Handa and Himanshu Handa, observed, “One must not lose sight of the fact that any imprisonment before conviction has a substantial punitive content and it would be improper for any court to refuse bail as a mark of disapproval of former conduct whether the accused has been convicted for it or not or to refuse bail to an unconvicted person for the purpose of giving him a taste of imprisonment as a lesson.”
The police had recovered a total of 170 oxygen concentrators, two luxury cars – Audi and Mercedes –from four persons, including two brothers, who have been arrested for their alleged involvement in hoarding and black marketing of oxygen concentrators. They were arrested following a complaint received on Twitter.
Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa who appeared on behalf of the accused persons told the court that except Section 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) IPC, all other offences involved are bailable.
Pahwa argued that “as there is no complainant/victim, therefore, ingredients of section 420 IPC is not satisfied at all as the basic ingredients of wrongful loss is not satisfied in any case.”
“Even otherwise, it is argued that it was a bonafide purchase of items for Sarvodaya Hospital and documents in this regard are already placed on record. It is further stated that in any case, there is no allegation of selling the alleged articles to any public member, as far as present accused are concerned,” Pahwa told the court.
Additional Public Prosecutor Pawan Kumar, who appeared for the state, told the court that “in the present pandemic situation, accused were taking benefit and in a well-planned conspiracy were trying to sell oxygen concentrators and other related items at a huge price and were further hoarding the same.”
The court said that the “object of Bail is neither punitive nor preventive. Deprivation of liberty must be considered a punishment unless it can be required to ensure that an accused person will stand his trial when called upon.”
“The courts owe more than verbal respect to the principle that punishment begins after convictions, and that every man is deemed to be innocent until duly tried and duly found guilty. From the earlier times, it was appreciated that detention in custody pending completion of the trial could be a cause of great hardship…, In this country, it would be quite contrary to the concept of personal liberty enshrined in the constitution that any persons should be punished in respect of any matter, upon which, he has not been convicted or that in any circumstances, he should be deprived of his liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution…,” the order read.
However, the court also noted that, “the liberty of an individual is not absolute. The Society by its collective wisdom through the process of law can withdraw the liberty that it has sanctioned to an individual when an individual becomes a danger to the societal order. A society expects responsibility and accountability from the member, and it desires that the citizens should obey the law, respecting it as a cherished social norm. Therefore, when an individual behaves in a disharmonious manner ushering in the disorderly thing which the society disapproves, the legal consequences are bound to follow.”
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