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Gauhati High Court grants bail to MLA Jignesh Mevani, 2022

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The Gauhati High Court on 2nd May stayed some observations made by the Barpeta District and Sessions Court while granting bail to Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani. The expunged remarks, the high court said, were made “without there being any materials on record”.

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The Assam government appealed the District and Sessions Court judgment, challenging both the bail and the judge’s observations about the Assam Police.

The municipal court in Barpeta granted Mevani bail on Friday, citing “ongoing police excesses in the state” and urging the Gauhati High Court to order the police force to “transform itself.” 

“It is just unimaginable to convert our hard-won democracy into a police state, and if the Assam Police is considering it, it is bizarre thinking,” the court had remarked.

“We chose to contest the judgment because certain observations and expressions in the order had a very demoralizing effect on the working of the Assam Police,” Debojit Saikia, Advocate General of Assam, told sources.

In court, Saikia argued that the judge’s remarks “not only demoralize the police force but also cast aspersion on it.” He claimed that it would have a “cascading effect” on both the Assam Police and the state of Assam’s “morale.”

Certain observations (on the Assam Police) “had no relevance to the examination of the bail motion,” stated Justice Devashis Baruah of the High Court in his ruling. “These observations were made without any materials on record on which the learned judge may have made such observations,” he wrote in his judgment. “As a result, this court stays the above-mentioned remarks until further orders.”

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High Court is asked to direct every police officer engaged in law and order duty to wear body cameras

Chakravarty asked the High Court to consider directing “every police officer engaged in law and order duty to wear body cameras, to install CCTV cameras in vehicles while arresting an accused or transporting an accused to someplace for recoveries of goods or other reasons and to also install CCTV cameras inside all police stations,” according to the quoted observations.

In addition, it said, these measures should be considered to “prevent the filing of false FIRs like this one, and to give credibility to the police version of events like the arrest of accused persons and the accused persons attempting to flee from police custody at midnight, while the accused was allegedly leading the police personnel to discover something, and the police personnel firing and killing or injuring such accused, which has become a common occurrence in the state.”

The High Court also stayed the part where Chakravarty said the “victim’s testimony” suggested the case was “fabricated for the aim of holding the accused for a longer period of time, violating the court’s and law’s process.”

The High Court stated, “These conclusions are also prima facie outside the exercise of the jurisdiction of the Sessions Court in a process under Section 439, CrPC, and hence the above observation has also stayed.”

The court noted, however, that the order should not be “misconstrued” as a hold on Mevani’s bail, and that the state of Assam was free to challenge the decision through its public prosecutor.

High Court

Following a complaint filed by a BJP leader in Kokrajhar district over a purported tweet against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mevani, an Independent MLA who had pledged support to the Congress last September, was arrested by the Assam Police from Gujarat’s Banaskantha district late on April 20 and flown to Guwahati the next morning.

Kokrajhar court granted Mevani bail on April 25, but he was re-arrested in a new case filed in Barpeta district on the basis of a complaint by a female police officer accusing him of “assaulting” her and “outraging her modesty.” The Barpeta court had granted him bail in the latter instance.

Also Read: GAUHATI HIGH COURT ADMIT CARD 2022- 237 LDA & COPYIST VACANCY

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