Co-accused police officer already out on bail, court mentions ‘parity’ as principle
Srinagar: A trial court in Srinagar on Saturday granted interim bail to a police constable accused of killing teenager Wamiq Farooq during the 2010 unrest in downtown Srinagar.
The accused constable, Muhammad Akram Dar, pleaded in his bail application that he was the only source of income for his family comprising his son, two daughters of marriageable age, and wife. He said if he is denied bail, “his family may face starvation.”
The accused constable has been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC).
Principal District Sessions Judge Muhammad Akram Chowdhary referred to various Supreme Court judgments and ruled that “prolonged delay in disposal of the trials and thereafter appeals in criminal cases, for no fault of the accused, confers a right upon him to apply for bail.”
After hearing both sides on the bail application, the court ruled: “Applying the cherished principles laid down with regard to the consideration of bail to the facts and circumstances of the present case, this court is of the considered opinion that detention of the petitioner/accused without his trial shall not serve any purpose and shall be against the interests of justice.”
The judge added that there was no statutory bar to the grant of bail in a case involving an offence under Section 304 Part II RPC, which is neither punishable with capital sentence of death nor with life imprisonment.
“Petitioner (accused), in view of the fact that the other co-accused has been admitted to interim bail, is also entitled to grant of bail on the principle of parity,” the judge ruled.
He added that the contention raised by the counsel for the respondents that the patronage and protection given to the accused by the State of J&K and its Police organization because of them being men in uniform, was not sufficient grounds to refuse bail.
“The application for grant of bail is granted and the accused is admitted to interim bail till next date of hearing, on furnishing two sureties in the amount of Rs 1 lakh each, with a personal bond of the like amount,” the judge ordered.
The court granted bail on the condition that he shall not directly or indirectly make any inducement, threat or promise to any person or persons acquainted with the facts of the case. The court further directed that the accused must not leave the territorial limits of Kashmir without prior permission of the court.
“IGP Kashmir shall closely monitor the conduct of accused/petitioner and submit the report by or before next date about his conduct during the period for which he is ordered to be kept at large on bail,” the court said.
The court has listed the case on February 26, 2018, for next hearing.
Wamiq Farooq, a Class 7 student, was killed after a teargas shell, allegedly fired by the police on January 31, 2010, near Gani Memorial Stadium in old Srinagar city, hit his head.
On December 1, 2015, the court sent Assistant Sub-Inspector Abdul Khaliq and Constable Muhammad Akram to Central Jail Srinagar after a police probe into the student’s killing indicted the duo of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The Supreme Court on April 7 last year asked the trial court here to proceed with trial in the case “uninfluenced by findings of Special Investigation Team (SIT) and observations of the J&K High Court.”
The Supreme Court had passed the directions while disposing of a Special Leave Petition by the government which challenged the rejection of a revision petition filed by it in J&K High Court, against the sessions court’s order directing registration of a second FIR into the killing.