Police -Judicial System : Failure of

Cop rapped over blind woman’s arrest

HC Says Denial Of Bail Illegal, Summons Inspector, Asks District Judge To Explain

A Subramani | TNN

Chennai: On a day when chief minister M Karunanidhi took over the supervision and control of the welfare of disabled people, the Madras High Court expressed shock and disbelief at the sufferings of a blind woman, who was jailed and denied bail illegally.

Justice S Nagamuthu, describing the case of Selvamani, who is totally blind, as unfortunate, has summoned an inspector of police to the court to offer an explanation on March 29, and has directed the Namakkal principal sessions judge also to furnish a report. He also ordered the release of the blind woman on bail, on her own bond.

Selvamani was cited as second-accused in a case, and the charge against her was that she “intended to cause injury” and that she “created nuisance.” After registering the case in 2008, the Nallipalayam police in Namakkal district filed the chargesheet in November 2008. During the investigation Selvamani was never arrested, and the police had cited her as “absconding accused.”

For some strange reason, well after the chargesheet was filed, the judicial magistrate-I, Namakkal, issued a non-bailable warrant against Selvamani, and the police arrested her. Though she was completely blind, the magistrate remanded her in judicial custody and she was sent to the Salem prison.

But the worst was yet to come. Despite the fact that she faced only minor charges and that she was entitled to bail as a matter of right under Section 436 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the principal sessions judge dismissed it saying the investigation was still on. This, when the case diary submitted to the judge clearly showed that the investigation had been completed and chargesheet filed in November 2008.

Justice Nagamuthu, passing severe strictures against the district judge, said: “It is an unfortunate case where a blind woman has been denied bail in a mechanical fashion by the principal sessions judge, Namakkal. She is facing prosecution only for offences under Section 211 read with 109 IPC, which is a bailable offence.

The sessions judge has no option at all to deny bail to her. It is the right of the accused to come out on bail. This court, with pains, makes a remark that the order of the sessions judge has been made in a mechanical fashion, which reflects the total non-application of mind.”

Justice Nagamuthu, concurring with the submissions of advocate PN Prakash and listing out the illegalities such as the bailable nature of the offence and the right of the accused to be granted bail in such cases, said: “It is the right of the accused to come out on bail. Denial of bail to her is illegal. It is crystal clear that the case diary was available in the hands of the sessions judge when the order was passed.”

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