Congress signals states ruled by it may liberalise bail law

A DAY after the Supreme Court said “there is a pressing need” for a bail law in the country to “streamline the grant of bails”, the Congress on Tuesday signaled that party-ruled Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh could enact amendments, which will liberalise the bail law.

Alleging that the ruling BJP is trying to rule through fear and control through coercion, the main opposition party said the Supreme Court’s observations in that context is a “much needed guidance”.

“We have seen, over the last 7 years, egregious executive action, on flimsy grounds, invoking usually inapplicable provisions like sedition, UAPA etc. The ruling party governments, both at the Centre and in many states, have been the most frequent defaulter in this regard. Often they are fully aware of the abuse of legal provisions they are indulging in but equally apply the principle that the process is the punishment and the end result be damned. Tardiness or hesitation of courts through bail intervention in this regard exacerbates the problem,” senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said at an AICC briefing.

He said the “Congress ruled states are likely, of course, subject to their own legislatures and the constitutional provisions, enact amendments, which will liberalize the bail law”.

“We the Congress Party intend, using due process of law, in accordance with the Constitution and obviously subject to due legislative process in Congress ruled states, to create in the near future legislative enactments encapsulating, in letter and spirit, as many as possible of the SC guidelines through appropriate state amendments,” he said.

Singhvi also accused the government of intimidating the judiciary, interfering in its functioning and influencing its decisions.

“The BJP is equally on a spree to sabotage, subjugate, and subvert the judiciary. It has excessively but selectively delayed judicial appointment proposals both to the High Courts and to the Supreme Court – Justice Akil Kureshi being only one out of many such names. It has arbitrarily bifurcated approved judicial appointees’ lists to the higher judiciary, again selectively, to allow some from the original common list to be appointed quickly, while selectively appointing others after a considerable time lag, thereby irreversibly prejudicing their inter se seniority,” he said.

He alleged that the ruling party has also “inaugurated an ambiance of fear, trepidation, anxiety and hesitation in the judicial sector by the misuse of dossier raj and oblique insinuations based thereupon and tried to prevail upon judicial collegia, understandably keen to fill ever increasing vacancies, to do punitive transfers of judicial authorities perceived as inconvenient”.

“It has attempted illegally and unfairly to interfere, whenever it can and whenever it deems necessary as per its own narrow, party and ideological thinking, with judges and the judiciary in general and the legal process and tried to install a section of judicial personnel vetted by it and its supporters, on impermissible tests of loyalty, ideology and commitment to itself,” he alleged.

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