The Supreme Court has censured the Bombay high court for its comments made regarding the June 2014 case involving the murder of Pune techie Mohsin Shaikh.
The court’s observations in the case seemed to indicate that the three accused had committed the act of violence “in the name of religion”. The remark contained in the order was made while granting bail to the three accused and noted that “the fault of the deceased was only that he belonged to another religion”.
No Bias To Be Shown
Hearing an appeal filed by the deceased’s brother, the apex court quashed the order regarding the accused Vijay Gambhire, Ganesh Yadav and Ajay Lalge who as per media reports belong to the right-wing group Hindu Rashtra Sena.
The accused had reportedly participated in an “inflammatory” meeting before they attacked and killed Shaikh. The meeting had taken place against the backdrop of communal clashes in the city.
The Supreme Court bench comprising Justices S.A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao warned the courts against making observations which may seem as being “coloured with a bias for or against a community”, and noted that religion cannot be a reason for committing a murder.
The bench has asked that courts to be “fully conscious of the plural composition of the country” and to be objective in deciding the rights of different groups.
The court has directed the police to take the three accused into custody, and has asked the Bombay high court review the bail plea afresh, and decide on it within six weeks.
No Intention To Hurt Feelings But Improper
The Supreme Court has noted that although the Bombay high court’s remarks may have sought to emphasise that it was communal hatred and not any personal bias that had triggered the attack, “the words are clearly vulnerable to such criticism.” The judges have noted “the direction cannot be sustained”.
Shaikh was on his way to meet up with a friend on June 2, 2014, in Hadapsar area of Pune, when he was attacked by a large mob.
The Bombay high court heard the fresh bail hearing on February 16.