A man who absconded mid-trial in a 1989 case while on bail and was arrested 22 years later in June this year. He was granted bail by a special CBI court on Monday. The court cited the legal doctrine, ‘bail is a rule, jail an exception,’ while granting the bail.
Vinayak Dhonde, a Colaba resident, had been arrested in 1989 for an offence pertaining to theft of iron worth Rs. 25,000 with help from a public servant, whom he bribed. He had spent a year in custody before being granted bail at the time.
The trial in the case had begun in 1993. After Dhonde’s statement was recorded by the court in 1999, he stopped attending the trial. The court had then declared him an absconder. His co-accused had been convicted by a judgment only in 2015. In an appeal, the judgment had been set aside and the co-accused was acquitted in 2018.
After Dhonde’s arrest this year, a supplementary chargesheet was filed against him by the CBI in August. Special Judge SH Gwalani cited in his order that ‘Bail is a rule, jail is an exception,' is a legal doctrine that was laid down by the Supreme Court in a landmark judgment. The court said further that the doctrine was laid down by the apex court based on the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
Judge Gwalani further said that every accused person is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. “The effect of granting bail is not to set the accused free, but to release him from custody and entrust him to his bond and the custody of his sureties who are bound to produce him to appear at his trial”
The court further considered that the co-accused had been acquitted after a reversal of the trial court’s order. It also noted that the trial may take some time for its conclusion and that it finds no need to detain the applicant in jail.
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