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Dataram vs State of U.P.

Dataram vs State of Uttar Pradesh

A fundamental principle of criminal jurisprudence is the presumption of innocence, which dictates that individuals are considered innocent until proven guilty. However, there are specific instances in our criminal law where the burden of proof is shifted onto the accused for certain offenses. Nevertheless, this does not undermine the fundamental presumption of innocence in respect of other offenses.

Another important aspect of our criminal jurisprudence is that the grant of bail is typically the norm, while imprisonment is meant to be the exception. Regrettably, some of these foundational principles seem to have been overlooked, leading to an increasing number of individuals being incarcerated for longer durations. This trend is detrimental to both our criminal justice system and our society at large. It is imperative to uphold these principles to ensure fairness, justice, and the protection of individual rights within our legal framework.

While reflecting on these matters, it is crucial to consider whether the accused was arrested during the investigation phase, as this period presents a prime opportunity for tampering with evidence or influencing witnesses. If the investigating officer opts not to arrest the accused during this phase, strong justification should be provided for placing the individual in judicial custody after the filing of a charge sheet.

Additionally, it’s essential to assess whether the accused cooperated satisfactorily with the investigations and did not evade or fail to appear when required by the investigating officer. If the accused is not evading authorities but is hiding due to genuine and expressed fear of victimization, this should be taken into account by the judge when appropriate.

Furthermore, the judge must consider whether the accused is a first-time offender or has a history of previous offenses, along with the nature of such offenses and their general conduct. The financial status of the accused, particularly if they are deemed indigent or impoverished, is also a crucial factor. Parliament has recognized the significance of this factor by incorporating an Explanation to Section 436 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Parliament has also adopted a lenient approach towards incarceration by introducing Section 436A in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, reflecting a recognition of the need for fair treatment, especially for individuals facing financial hardships or with minimal criminal history. These considerations are vital for ensuring that the justice system remains equitable and sensitive to the diverse circumstances of accused individuals.

CItation: (2018) 3 SCC 22

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

High Court Lucknow

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