New Delhi (ABC Live): Punjab and Haryana High Court : The Supreme Court bench of Justice SA Bobde and Justice L Nageswara Rao on Thursday criticized the order dated September 13, 2017, passed by bench of Justice Mahesh Grover and Justice Justice Raj Shekhar Attri of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, suspending the sentence of imprisonment for 20 years of two students of Jindal Global Law School convicted for gangrape of a co-student and permitting their release on bail during the pendency of the appeals against the conviction.
The bench remarked, “The law teaches something new everyday. It is a rare case when during the course of the trial, the accused were held in custody, and upon conviction, were released on bail. This cannot be allowed to happen. The convicts must returned to jail.”
However, the apex court granted stay on the execution of the non-bailable warrant issued against the third convict Vikas Garg, sentenced to imprisonment for 7 years.
As per information the Additional District and Sessions Court, in March 2017, had awarded 20 years’ of imprisonment to main accused Hardik Sikri and his friend Karan Chhabra. The third accused, Vikas Garg, was handed a 7-year jail term. They had approached the high court seeking release on bail during the pendency of the appeals.
The bench of Justice Mahesh Grover and Justice Justice Raj Shekhar Attri of Punjab and Haryana High Court Allowed their applications, the court had suspended the sentence awarded to them on the condition that they would not leave the country, would abstain from contacting the victim in any manner and would undergo psychiatric counselling “until they are free of their voyeuristic tendencies”. Their parents had been directed to submit to the court a progress report on this aspect after six months.
The order passed by High Court bench further says that it intended to “balance the concerns of the victim, demands of the society and law and the elements of reformatory and rehabilitative justice”. “It would be a travesty if these young minds are confined to jail for an inordinate long period which would deprive them of their education, opportunity to redeem themselves and be a part of the society as normal beings. Long incarceration at this stage when the appeal is not likely to mature for some time is likely to result in an irreparable damage. We are also of the opinion that the pendency of the appeal, ironically may work as a guarantee to prevent a repeat resulting from the fear of incarceration in the event of failure of the appeal,” the bench had further observed.