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Cop Gets Bail in ‘Fake Encounter’ Case After 18 years in J-K

The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has granted bail to Bansi Lal, a policeman arrested 18 years ago for allegedly killing an innocent man and falsely labeling him as a terrorist. The decision, passed by Justice Atul Sreedharan on July 3, emphasized the violation of Article 21 due to the delayed trial.

The case, which was heard through videoconferencing, has seen Bansi Lal in judicial custody since his arrest in 2006. His counsel highlighted that Lal had been granted interim bail only for a few months during this long period.

Lal’s arrest stemmed from his involvement in a police team accused of murdering an innocent individual and subsequently presenting the victim as a terrorist. This case has been plagued by delays, with only 28 out of 72 witnesses examined over the span of 17 years.

Justice Sreedharan expressed astonishment at the prolonged trial, noting the failure to progress beyond the prosecution witnesses’ stage. The judge criticized the state for being unable to justify the delay in the proceedings.

In his order, Justice Sreedharan pointed out that the delay in the trial could not be attributed to the applicant, Bansi Lal. This prolonged judicial process was deemed a clear violation of Lal’s right to a speedy trial, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

Given these circumstances, the court decided that Bansi Lal should be released on bail immediately. The bail conditions include furnishing a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and one surety of the same amount to the satisfaction of the registrar.

This case underscores significant concerns regarding the judicial process and the right to a timely trial. The court’s decision aims to address the prolonged injustice faced by Bansi Lal, providing him with the relief of bail after nearly two decades.

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