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Supreme Court speaks against incarceration of accused for a long time without trial

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Supreme Court speaks against incarceration of accused for a long time without trial
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court said it cannot allow a situation in which a person is kept incarcerated for a long time without a trial.

The bench was speaking after granting bail to two accused in a criminal case related to contraband ganja. They were lodged in jail for four years.

The incident took place in 2018 when law enforcement seized 414 kg of contraband in West Bengal. The top court noted that even the first witness of the prosecution is yet to be examined and the accused have been in jail all this while. "A charge sheet was filed and charges have been framed but the case was not proceeding further."

"We are thus of the view that as the period of incarceration is almost four years now and the first witness of the prosecution is yet to be examined, the appellants are entitled to bail on such terms and conditions as prescribed by the trial court. Ordered accordingly," said the top court.

The bench of justices SK Kaul and PS Narasimha observed that the appellants can be put back into incarceration if they seek to delay the trial.

The Calcutta High Court in its November 2021 order denied the accused bail and directed the special court to take all efforts for completing the stage of consideration of the charge on the next date so fixed or within a week thereafter. The order asked the special court to take further steps to complete the trial within a reasonable period taking into account the period of detention of the petitioners.

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