JAMMU, Mar 4: Special Judge Anticorruption Jammu Sanjeev Gupta today rejected bail application of Kewal Sharma, the then PRO to the then Deputy Chief Minister, who was arrested by the Vigilance Organization in disproportionate assets case.
After hearing Ajay Dogra, Senior Prosecuting Officer for the Vigilance Organization and Advocate AK Shan for the accused, the court observed, “economic offences constitute a class apart and need to be visited with a different approach in the matter of bail”, adding “the economic offence having deep rooted conspiracies and involving huge loss of public funds needs to be viewed seriously and considered as grave offences affecting the economy of the country as a whole”.
“There is no denying the fact that liberty of an individual is precious and is to be protected by the courts. Nonetheless, such a protection cannot be absolute in every situation. The valuable right of liberty of an individual and the interest of the society in general has to be balanced”, the court said.
“The liberty of a person accused of an offence would depend upon the exigencies of the case. The individual liberty is restricted by larger social interest and its deprivation must have due sanction of law”, the court further said, adding “in an orderly society an individual is expected to live with dignity having respect for law and also giving due respect to other’s rights. The individual liberty cannot be accentuated to such an extent or elevated to such a high pedestal which would bring in anarchy or disorder in the society”.
The Special Judge Anticorruption further said, “courts have to strike a reasonable balance between the societal interest and individual interest. When these interests are irreconcilable, societal interest must prevail”, adding “in a society governed by rule of law, there should be zero tolerance to corruption. The nature of graft cases is entirely different from other common offences so greater care should be taken while scrutinizing such cases”.
“It has been highlighted by the prosecution that if the petitioner is enlarged to bail, he will influence the witnesses, since some of them are on his pay rolls and thereby investigation will suffer a setback”, the court said, adding “the instant case appears to be an illustration of the failure of system at the higher echelon of Government whereby the petitioner who was working as PRO with the high office of Deputy Chief Minister indulged in corrupt practices in an organized manner by throwing all cautions to wind and created assets stated to be approximately one thousand times disproportionate to his known sources of income”.
With these observations, court rejected the bail application of the accused.