Human rights lawyer slams SC for denying ‘Arnab privilege’ to commoners

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If you are not from the marginalised section, if you can afford to pay tens of lakhs in fees to lawyers only then can you meet such eligibility criteria, Mihir Desai said

By Hasan Akram

Mumbai: Human rights lawyer Mihir Desai, in a Facebook post, highlighted the selective approach purportedly maintained by the Supreme Court for hearing case. He described how the top court favours the rich and the powerful and fails to pay due attention to the pleas of common people.

He said that Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami was entitled to be released on bail because bail, not jail is the rule. But “Are the 3,50,000, yes, three lakh fifty thousand undertrials (many of them for years and many for petty offences) who are as on 11th November 2020 in jails across India likely to get bail? More than 1,20,000 of them have been jail as undertrials for more than a year,” he said.

He took a dig at the police and courts over the incarceration of 83-year-old activist Stan Swamy, 80year-old poet-activist Varavara Rao, student activist Safoora Zargar, journalist Siddique Kappan and other advocates of human rights and free speech. 

“Police and CBI and NIA are of course normally neutral. See what a wonderful job they have done in arresting 84 year old priest, 80 year old poet, 66 year old author, some lawyers who dare to fight for human rights, pregnant student, journalist who dares to cover Hathras,” he wrote.

Please find the complete text of his post below:

Was Arnab Goswami entitled to be released on bail? Of course. Bail not jail is the rule.

 Are the 3,50,000, yes, three lakh fifty thousand undertrials (many of them for years and many for petty offences) who are as on 11th November 2020 in jails across India likely to get bail? More than 1,20,000 of them have been jail as undertrials for more than a year.

 At some stage in their long prison life, may be, but within four days of arrest? Not in your wildest dreams.

 Well okay, but as and when their cases are taken up, they would definitely get a three day hearing in high court and one full day hearing in Supreme Court? Sure if you are living in Greenland.

 In any case our constitutional courts will never refuse to entertain a bail application directly since lower courts are so overloaded. If your case is “important” enough, if you are not from the marginalised section, if you can afford to pay tens of lakhs in fees to lawyers only then can you meet such eligibility criteria.

 But Arnab is innocent? But all 3,50,000 undertrials are presumed innocent till they are found guilty.

 But, Arnab has been maliciously prosecuted by the villainous police? Police and CBI and NIA are of course normally neutral.

 See what a wonderful job they have done in arresting an 84 year old priest, an 80 year old poet, a 66 year old author, some lawyers who dare to fight for human rights, a pregnant student, (and a) journalist who dares to cover Hathras.

 But come on… whenever the undertrials do get bail they will at least be immediately released from jail like Arnab?

 Please do a reality check.

 Arnab has been released on a personal bond but others will have to get one or two solvent sureties.

 Is it the judiciary’s fault that they are poor and can’t get sureties and will continue to be in jail even after being granted bail?

 But hey, Supreme Court has always said that personal liberty is the most important fundamental right.

 Absolutely. That is precisely why they heard habeas corpus petitions within er… 12 hours, ok, no 12 days, my mistake 12 months?

 Sorry, sorry, the Supreme Court is too overloaded don’t expect miracles.

 Come on people stop grumbling we are in for great times.

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