Weekly Legal Updates ( 19 May 2024 to 25 May 2024)

Supreme Court denies bail to former Samajwadi Party legislator

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the bail plea of former Samajwadi Party legislator Kamlesh Pathak in a case registered against him under Uttar Pradesh’s Gangster Act.

A bench of justices Dipankar Datta and Satish C Sharma cited Pathak’s criminal antecedents, saying his prayer for release on bail seemed “unreasonable” looking at his purported influence in the area and the gravity of charges. It highlighted that more than a dozen cases against Pathak were apparently “settled” with the complainants, hinting at the dominance of the petitioner.

Senior counsel Anjana Prakash, representing Pathak, contended that his client has been granted bail in the separate cases of murder and attempt to murder but has been forced to remain behind bars because of the Gangsters Act case. She referenced a May 2023 order of the Supreme Court allowing Pathak to renew his bail plea if the trial in the Gangster Act case was not over within three months. Prakash complained about the slow pace of the trial.

Responding, the bench observed: “It is wishful thinking of this court that a case like this from UP [Uttar Pradesh] will be concluded within three months…This is not a case where we can exercise our discretion. With a criminal background like yours, we do not think we will be passing any such order.”

The case under the Gangster Act was slapped against Pathak over his alleged involvement in a double murder in Auraiya. In March 2020, advocate Manjul Chaubey, 37, and his sister, 24, were gunned down at a temple in Auraiya’s Narayanpur. Chaubey’s family managed the temple. The police charged Pathak, his two brothers, and 11 others with murder for grabbing the temple land.

The other criminal case against Pathak was registered under the charges of attempt to murder and grievous assault. The Allahabad high court granted Pathak bail in the murder and grievous assault cases in April 2022. But he did not get bail in the gangster case. Both the trial court and the high court rejected his plea. After the Supreme Court in May 2023 gave Pathak the liberty to renew his bail plea after three months, he approached the high court but to no avail.

In March, the high court rejected Pathak’s bail plea for the second time, underlining “the gravity of offence, role assigned to the applicant, the severity of punishment, the possibility of tampering with the evidence and stage of the trial”.

(Course:- Hindustantimes, 20 May 2024)

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