Can’t deny bail to fix cracked system: Punjab and Haryana High Court : The Tribune India

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Can’t deny bail to fix cracked system: Punjab and Haryana High Court

Can’t deny bail to fix cracked system: Punjab and Haryana High Court


Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, April 2

In a clear-cut departure from traditional punitive approaches, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that bail cannot be denied to an accused to “fix a cracked system”. The ruling, reflecting a proactive stance aimed at addressing the underlying institutional deficiencies, came in a case where the accused was allegedly working as a “tout” of the roadways conductors.

'Roadways mgmt aware of extortion'

  • Justice Anoop Chitkara asserted that there was evidence of the petitioner working as a tout of the conductors, but sight could not be lost of the fact that the Haryana Roadways management and employees either miserably failed in their duty to monitor, were involved, or remained mute spectators despite knowing about the "extortion"

Justice Anoop Chitkara asserted that there was evidence of the petitioner working as a tout of the conductors, but sight could not be lost of the fact that the Haryana Roadways management and employees either miserably failed in their duty to monitor, were involved, or remained mute spectators despite knowing about the “extortion”.

“The petitioner is not an employee of the Haryana Roadways, but is shown as a tout. Thus, given that the fault prima facie lies with the failure of the roadways to manage its system, the petitioner cannot be denied bail to fix a cracked system,” he ruled.

A DSP was also directed to forward the order and the FIR to Haryana Roadways managing director/chief executive officer “so that they do not say that they were unaware of the extortion and the cracks in their system”.

The judgment is significant as it travels beyond superficially treating the symptoms of an ailing system. It adopts a holistic approach to target the root causes by making it clear that addressing the systemic flaws is more important than adopting punitive measures.

The matter was placed before Justice Chitkara after the accused filed a petition seeking anticipatory bail in an FIR registered on December 12 last year at the Rohtak District Anti-Corruption Bureau under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The FIR was registered on a complaint by a private bus transporter, who alleged that two conductors posted as “advancers” at a counter were taking money through an agent. Challan was issued for the buses after he did not

give money.

His counsel argued: “If State allowed the extortion to continue for such a long time, it shows the failure of the state machinery. But on this ground, the petitioner, allegedly a tout, should not be denied bail”.

The roadways management permitted corrupt conductors to extort money, and now the entire burden was being shifted upon the petitioner by showing him as a tout, he added. Justice Chitkara allowed the plea and confirmed the interim anticipatory bail earlier granted by the court.

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