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Friday, February 17, 2017

The right to fair trial is not singularly absolute, as is perceived, from the perspective of the accused. It takes in its ambit and sweep the right of the victim(s) and the society at large. These factors would collectively allude and constitute the Rule of Law, i.e., free and fair trial. The fair trial which is constitutionally protected as a substantial right under Article 21 and also the statutory protection, does invite for consideration a sense of conflict with the interest of the victim(s) or the collective/interest of the society. When there is an intra-conflict in respect of the same fundamental right from the true perceptions, it is the obligation of the constitutional courts to weigh the balance in certain circumstances, the interest of the society as a whole, when it would promote and instill Rule of Law. A fair trial is not what the accused wants in the name of fair trial. Fair trial must soothe the ultimate justice which is sought individually, but is subservient and would not prevail when fair trial requires transfer of the criminal proceedings. A wrongful act of an individual cannot derogate the right of fair trial as that interest is closer, especially in criminal trials, to the Rule of Law. An accused cannot be permitted to jettison the basic fundamentals of trial in the name of fair trial. The weighing of balance between the two perspectives in case of fair trial would depend upon the facts and circumstances weighed on the scale of constitutional norms and sensibility and larger public interest. Section 3 of the 1950 Act does not create an impediment on the part the court to pass an order of transfer of an accused or a convict from one jail in a State to another prison in another State because it creates a bar on the exercise of power on the executive only. The Court in exercise of power under Article 142 of the Constitution cannot curtail the fundamental rights of the citizens conferred under the Constitution and pass orders in violation of substantive provisions which are based on fundamental policy principles, yet when a case of the present nature arises, it may issue appropriate directions so that criminal trial is conducted in accordance with law. It is the obligation and duty of this Court to ensure free and fair trial. The submission that this Court in exercise of equity jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution cannot transfer the accused from Siwan Jail to any other jail in another State is unacceptable as the basic premise of the said argument is erroneous, for while addressing the issue of fair trial, the Court is not exercising any kind of jurisdiction in equity. 75. In view of the aforesaid conclusions, we direct the State of Bihar to transfer the third respondent, M. Shahabuddin, from Siwan Jail, District Siwan to Tihar Jail, Delhi and hand over the prisoner to the competent officer of Tihar Jail after giving prior intimation for his transfer in Delhi. Needless to say, that the authorities escorting the third respondent from Siwan Jail to Tihar Jail would strictly follow the rules applicable to the transit prisoners and no special privilege shall be extended. The transfer shall take place within a week hence. Thereafter, the trial in respect of pending trials shall be conducted by video conferencing by the concerned trial court. The competent authority in Tihar Jail and the competent authority of the State of Bihar shall make all essential arrangements so that the accused and the witnesses would be available for the purpose of trial through video conferencing. A copy of this order shall forthwith be communicated to the Home Secretary, Government of Bihar, Superintendent of Siwan Jail and the Inspector General, Prisons, Tihar Jail, Delhi. All concerned are directed to act in aid of the aforesaid order as contemplated under Article 144 of the Constitution. 76. We have noted that the High Court of Patna has granted stay in certain proceedings. The High Court is requested to dispose of the said matters on their merits within four months hence. A copy of this order be sent to the Registrar General, High Court of Patna for placing the same before the learned Acting Chief Justice. 77. In view of the aforesaid analysis, Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 147 of 2016 stands disposed of. Similarly, Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 132 of 2016 also stands disposed of except for the prayer seeking direction to register FIR against Shri Tej Pratap Yadav, Health Minster of Bihar and S.P., Police of Siwan District, for which the matter be listed for further hearing at 2.00 p.m. on 21st of April 2017.

                                                                  REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                       CRIMINAL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
                  WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 132 OF 2016

Asha Ranjan                             ... Petitioner
                                   Versus
State of Bihar & Ors.                              ... Respondents
                                    WITH
                  WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 147 OF 2016
Chandrakeshwar Prasad                   …Petitioner

                             Versus

Union of India & Ors.                   …Respondents


                               J U D G M E N T

Dipak Misra, J.
      Regard being had to the similitude  of  prayers  and  considering  the
commonality of issues exposited in these Writ Petitions, they  were  finally
heard together. The principal issue raised is disposed of by  this  singular
order. It is necessary to note that in Writ Petition (Criminal) No.  132  of
2016 preferred by Asha Ranjan, it has been prayed for issue  of  appropriate
directions to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)  to  take  over  the
investigation in connection with  FIR  No.  362/16  dated  13.05.2016  under
Police Station Nagar Thana, Siwan, District Siwan  under  Sections  302/120B
read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC); to transfer the  entire
proceedings and trial in FIR No. 362/16 dated  13.05.2016  registered  under
the same Police Station for the same offences from Siwan,  Bihar  to  Delhi;
to call for the status report in  the  investigation  relating  to  FIR  No.
362/16  dated  13.05.2016;  to  grant  appropriate   compensation   to   the
petitioner and her family  members  and  to  ensure  their  security.   That
apart, there is also a prayer to register FIR against respondent Nos. 3  and
4  for conspiracy  and harboring and sheltering the proclaimed offenders  in
FIR No. 362/16 dated 13.05.2016. In this  Writ  Petition,  at  a  subsequent
stage, Criminal Miscellaneous Petition No. 17101 of 2016 has been filed  for
transfer of respondent No. 3, M. Shahabuddin, from Siwan Jail,  Bihar  to  a
jail in Delhi.  During the pendency of this case, Writ  Petition  (Criminal)
No. 147 of 2016 came to be filed.  In the said Writ Petition, the prayer  is
to issue a direction to transfer respondent No.  3,  M.  Shahabuddin,  to  a
jail outside the  State  of  Bihar  and  to  issue  further  directions  for
conducting  of  the  trial  in  pending  cases  against  him  through  video
conferencing.  Thus, the prayers in Writ  Petition  (Criminal)  No.  147  of
2016 are two fold and in Writ  Petition  (Criminal)  No.  132  of  2016  are
manifold.
2.    It is apposite to state here that both the cases, as  stated  earlier,
were heard together and learned counsel for the parties addressed the  Court
with regard to sustainability of prayer for transfer of  the  cases  pending
against respondent No. 3,  Shahabuddin, from Siwan Jail to a jail  in  Delhi
and conducting of the trial through video conferencing. As  far  as  lodging
of FIR against respondent No. 4 in Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 132 of  2016
is concerned, hearing on the said aspect was deferred which  is  clear  from
the order passed on January 17, 2017 in Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 132  of
2016. We think it appropriate to reproduce the same:-
“In this writ petition, though the prayers have been couched in  a  manifold
manner,  there  are  basically  three  prayers,  namely,  the  transfer   of
proceedings from Siwan, Bihar, to Delhi; secondly, to issue a  direction  to
C.B.I. to investigate into certain crimes; and thirdly, to pass  appropriate
direction to register an F.I.R. against the respondent Nos.3 and 4.

As far as the direction to C.B.I. for  taking  investigation  is  concerned,
this Court had already  issued  the  directions  and,  therefore,  the  said
prayer does not any more survive.

As far as the transfer of the proceedings is concerned which  is  associated
with the transfer of the accused, we are going to deal with the same in  the
criminal miscellaneous  petition  filed  in  this  writ  petition  and  Writ
Petition (Crl.) No.147 of 2016.

As far as the third prayer is concerned, it  is  seriously  opposed  by  Mr.
Surendra Singh, learned senior  counsel  for  the  respondent  No.4  on  the
ground that there is no warrant or justification for lodging  of  an  F.I.R.
and, in any case, no case is made out and what has been stated is solely  on
the basis of the photographs published in the  newspapers.  Be  that  as  it
may, as far as this prayer is concerned, it  shall  be  dealt  with  on  the
another date as we  have  reserved  the  order  regarding  transfer  of  the
respondent No.3 from Siwan Jail, Bihar to another jail, which is similar  to
the prayer in the Writ Petition (Crl.) No.147 of 2016.  The  judgment  shall
be delivered dealing with the said aspects and the  third  prayer  shall  be
considered on another day, which shall be fixed at a later stage.”

3.    Thus, we are presently required to  deal  with  the  transfer  of  the
third respondent, M. Shahabuddin from the Siwan Jail, Bihar  to  a  Jail  in
Delhi keeping in view the averments made in  Writ  Petition  (Criminal)  No.
147 of 2016 and the  assertions  made  in  the  application  filed  in  Writ
Petition  (Criminal) No. 132 of 2016
4.    The factual matrix in Writ Petition (Criminal) No.  132  of  2016,  as
unfolded, is that on 13.5.2016  petitioner’s  husband,  namely,  Sh.  Rajdev
Ranjan,  Senior  Reporter  (Journalist  Incharge,  Dainik  Hindustan,  Siwan
Bureau, Bihar) was shot dead as he received  five  bullet  injuries  in  his
head and other parts of his body  and  FIR  No.  362/16  dated  13.5.16  was
registered under PS Nagar Thana, Dist. Siwan  for  the  offences  punishable
under Sections 302/120(B) and 34 of IPC.
5.    On 13.5.2016, the petitioner informed the police  that  one  notorious
criminal, Shahabuddin, and his henchmen were involved in the murder  of  her
husband but the police deliberately did not include the name of  Shahabuddin
in the list of accused persons.   Thereafter, as the  matter  stands  today,
the investigation of the said case has been transferred to the CBI.   It  is
asseverated that in the mean time certain persons  have  been  arrested  and
some have surrendered to custody.
6.    The factual exposé of the murder of the husband of the petitioner  has
a narrative that goes back to the year 2005. The husband of the  petitioner,
a journalist, it is averred, had written various news reports pertaining  to
serious and substantive criminal activities  of  said  Shahabuddin  who  had
threatened to eliminate him and his family members. Undeterred  he  kept  on
writing various investigative  news  articles  and  reports  in  respect  of
murder of the three sons of one Siwan resident, namely, Chanda  Babu,  which
eventually led to the arrest of Shahabuddin  and  after  conclusion  of  the
trial he  stood  convicted  for  the  offence  under  Section  302  IPC  and
sentenced to undergo life imprisonment. It is apt to note  that  during  the
trial of  the  said  case,  Shahabuddin  and  his  shooters  had  constantly
threatened the petitioner’s husband  with  death  threats  to  him  and  the
family members.  As the narration has been  undraped,  petitioner’s  husband
highlighted about the murder of  one  Shrikant  Bharti  by  publishing  news
articles and at that stage on 13.5.2016 petitioner’s  husband  got  a  phone
call from an unknown person on his mobile              about 7.15  p.m.  and
soon thereafter he left the office and started moving  towards  the  Station
Road.  About 7.30 p.m. he was shot dead and the ephemeral  threat  became  a
reality.
7.    Thereafter, during the course of investigation, two  accused  persons,
namely, Mohammed  Kaif  and  Mohammad  Javed  were  declared  as  proclaimed
offenders. On 10.9.2016, Shahabuddin was released on bail and the  aforesaid
proclaimed offenders were seen in his company but  apathy  reigned  and  the
fear ruled so that no police official dared to arrest  them.   On  14.9.2016
petitioner saw the pictures of the proclaimed offenders  Mohammed  Kaif  and
Mohammad Javed with Shri Tej Pratap Yadav, Health Minister of Bihar  on  all
media channels.
8.    Feeling insecured, terrorized and helpless as regards her  safety  and
security and of her two  minor  children,  the  petitioner  has  moved  this
Court. As set forth, the death of the husband, makes her  apprehensive  that
Shahabuddin may eliminate her entire  family.  Her  petrification  has  been
agonizingly  articulated  in  the  petition  and  by  the  learned  counsel,
sometimes with vehemence and on occasions with desperation.
9.    At this juncture, we may advert to the facts in Writ  Petition  (Crl.)
No. 147 of 2016.  It is averred that respondent No. 3 is a dreaded criminal-
cum-politician who has already been declared history-sheeter Type A (who  is
beyond reform) and till date he has been booked in 75 cases out of which  in
10 cases he has been convicted, and facing life imprisonment  in  two  cases
and 10 years rigorous imprisonment in one  and  45  cases  are  pending  for
trial.  He has been acquitted in twenty  cases.   The  first  criminal  case
against respondent No. 3 was initiated  in  1986.  The  criminal  activities
continued in  some  form  or  other  and  on  3.5.1996  he  along  with  his
associates fired upon the then Superintendent of Police, Shri S.K.  Singhal,
IPS with sophisticated  arms  for  which  they  were  sentenced  to  undergo
imprisonment for 10 years.   Thereafter, his name figured in the  murder  of
former JNU President, Mr. Chandrashekhar, who was  shot  dead  in  Siwan  on
31.3.1997.  It is alleged that he  and  his  private  army  fired  upon  the
raiding party on 16.3.2002 when his house was raided and in  that  incident,
the vehicles of Deputy Inspector General of Police,  Saran  range,  District
Magistrate, Siwan and Superintendent of Police, Siwan were burnt.  From  his
house, huge quantities of ammunition were recovered and FIR no. 32  of  2001
was registered.  In another raid conducted in 2005,  large  number  of  arms
and ammunition were recovered from the house of  the  third  respondent  and
FIR Nos. 41 to 44 of  2005  were  registered.   In  November,  2005  he  was
arrested by the joint team of Bihar and  Delhi  police  in  connection  with
various cases.  It is put forth that he ran  a  parallel  administration  in
Siwan from 1990 till 2005 and in March, 2007 he was sentenced to  two  years
imprisonment for assault on CPI-ML  offices  in  Siwan  on  19th  September,
1998. Further he was sentenced to  life  imprisonment  on  08.05.2007  under
Section 364/34 IPC for abduction with an intention to commit murder  of  CPI
(ML) worker in February, 1999, whose dead body was never traced.
10.   It is set forth that in August 2004,  three  sons  of  the  petitioner
were picked up by the henchmen of respondent No. 3 and taken to  his  native
village Pratappur where two of his sons,  namely,  Girish  and  Satish  were
drenched in acid and his third son, who  witnessed  the  murder  managed  to
escape and a criminal case was registered against him  under  Sections  341,
323, 380, 364, 435/34 IPC for abduction, etc. of the petitioner’s  two  sons
in which charges were framed on 04.06.2010  against  respondent  No.  3  and
others.  The prosecution moved an application for addition of charges  under
Sections 302 and 201 read with Section 120B IPC, which prayer was  initially
rejected on the ground of delay but after the direction of  the  High  Court
of Patna, the charges under the aforesaid Sections  were  added  vide  order
dated 18.04.2014.   During  the  litigation,  the  petitioner’s  third  son,
Rajeev Roshan, a material eye witness in the said case was murdered  and  an
FIR No. 220/14 was lodged against respondent No. 3, his son Osama and  other
unknown persons.  Thus, the three sons of the petitioner were murdered.
11.   On 18.05.2016, a raid was conducted by the district administration  at
Siwan jail and District Magistrate, Siwan in his  report  stated  about  the
conduct of respondent No. 3 inside  the  jail  and  the  facilities  he  was
enjoying in jail in violation of the jail rules/manual and  recommended  his
transfer from Siwan to Bhagalpur  jail  whereafter  he  was  transferred  to
Bhagalpur jail for six months.
12.   As the narration would further unfurl, in  the  said  case,  the  High
Court granted bail to the respondent No. 3 on 02.03.2016 in FIR  No.  131/04
and further granted bail in the murder’s case of third son of petitioner  on
07.09.2016 in the FIR No. 220/14. The petitioner as well  as  the  State  of
Bihar challenged the orders granting bail. The bail  orders  have  been  set
aside by this Court in Chandrakeshwar Prasad v. State of Bihar and  Anr.[1].
While setting aside the order granting him bail, this Court has held:-
“12. In the instant case, having regard to the recorded allegations  against
the respondent-accused and the overall  factual  scenario,  we  are  of  the
view, having regard in particular to the present stage of the case in  which
the impugned order has been passed, that the High Court  was  not  justified
in granting bail on the considerations recorded. Qua the assertion that  the
respondent-accused was  in  judicial  custody  on  the  date  on  which  the
incident of murder in the earlier case had occurred, the judgment and  order
of the trial court convicting him has recorded the version  of  the  brother
of  the  deceased  therein,  that  he  had   seen   the   respondent-accused
participating in the offence. We refrain from elaborating  further  on  this
aspect as the said judgment and order of the trial court  is  presently  sub
judice in an appeal before the High Court.

13. On a careful perusal of the records of the case and considering all  the
aspects of the matter in question and having regard to  the  proved  charges
in the cases concerned, and the charges  pending  adjudication  against  the
respondent-accused and further balancing the  considerations  of  individual
liberty  and  societal  interest  as  well  as  the  prescriptions  and  the
perception of law regarding bail, it appears to us that the High  Court  has
erred in  granting  bail  to  the  respondent-accused  without  taking  into
consideration the overall facts otherwise having a bearing on  the  exercise
of its discretion on the issue.”

      On the  aforementioned  factual  plinth,  the  petitioner  has  sought
transfer of the third respondent from the Siwan jail to a jail  outside  the
State of Bihar and conducting of  the  trials  in  pending  cases  by  video
conferencing.
13.   We have heard Mr. Shanti  Bhushan  and   Mr.  Dushyant  Dave,  learned
senior counsel and Mr. Kislay Pandey, learned  counsel for the  petitioners,
 Mr. P.S.   Narasimha, learned Additional Solicitor  General  and  Mr.  P.K.
Dey, learned counsel  appearing  for  CBI,   Mr.  Shekhar  Naphade,  learned
senior counsel along with Mr. M. Shoeb Alam, learned counsel for  respondent
No.  3,   Mr.  Surendra  Singh,  learned  senior  counsel  along  with   Mr.
Dhirendra Singh Parmar,  learned  counsel  for  respondent  No.  4  in  Writ
Petition (Criminal) No. 132 of 2016 and Mr.  Gopal  Singh,  learned  counsel
for the State of Bihar.
14.   As per our order dated  17.01.2017,  the  grievance  against  the  4th
respondent in Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 132 of 2016 shall  be  heard  and
dealt with after pronouncement of this judgment  and  hence,  we  shall  not
delve into the contentions put forth in  the  said  writ  petition  and  the
stand taken in the counter affidavit in that regard for the present.
15.   The seminal issue that we are required  to  address  is  whether  this
Court, in exercise of  power  under  Article  32  and  Article  142  of  the
Constitution can direct transfer of an accused from  one  State  to  another
and direct conducting of  pending  trials  by  way  of  video  conferencing.
Needless to emphasise the said advertence in law will also depend  upon  the
factual scenario and satisfaction of the judicial conscience of  this  Court
to take recourse to such a mode. The petitioners have asserted  with  regard
to the criminal activities of the third respondent, the cases  in  which  he
has been roped in, the convictions he has faced, the sentences imposed  upon
him, the snails speed at which the trials are in  progress  because  of  the
terror that reigns in Siwan, the declaration of the third  respondent  as  a
history-sheeter            Type-A (who is beyond  reform),  the  non-chalant
attitude unabashedly and brazenly demonstrated by him that has unnerved  and
shaken the victims and the society at large, the  impunity  with  which  the
collusion  with  the  jail  administration  has  taken  place,  the  blatant
intimidation of witnesses that weakens their sense  of  truth  and  justice;
and  mortal  terror  unleashed  when  they  come  to  court,  the  audacious
violation of the rules and regulations  that  are  supposed  to  govern  the
convicts or under-trial prisoners inside the jail as if they have been  made
elegantly unperceivable and the confinement inside jail remains  a  word  on
paper, for the third respondent, still is able  to  issue  his  command  and
writs from the jail, run a parallel administration  and  get  involved  with
the crimes, at his own whim and fancy. The stand and  stance  put  forth  in
the petitions and the arguments advanced  by  Mr.  Shanti  Bhushan  and  Mr.
Dushyant Dave, sometimes one may be inclined to think, are in the  realm  of
rhetorics but the learned senior counsel for the petitioners and Mr.  Kislay
Pandey, submitted with enormous agony, and filed a chart  to  bolster  their
stand and submission.  The Court had also asked Mr. P.S. Narasimha, and  Mr.
P.K. Dey, learned counsel appearing for the CBI  to  submit  a  chart.   The
chart showing  the  cases  where  either  the  respondent  No.  3  has  been
convicted or acquitted  or  cases  pending  against  him,  has  been  filed.
Without commenting on the merits, we think it apt to reproduce the Chart:-

                              “CONVICTION CASES


|Sl. |FIR P.S.   |Under Section  |Status of   |Stat|Date of|Period  |
|No  |case No    |               |Trial       |us  |Grant  |of      |
|    |           |               |conviction  |of  |of bail|Imprison|
|    |           |               |(with       |appe|by     |ment    |
|    |           |               |sentence)/  |al  |Distric|before  |
|    |           |               |Pending/Acqu|    |t/High |grant of|
|    |           |               |ittal (in   |    |Court  |bail    |
|    |           |               |series)     |    |       |        |
|1   |Muffasil PS|147/341/342/448|2 Year      |-   |Bail   |0 days  |
|    |Case No.   |/504 IPC       |imprisonment|    |28.10.0|        |
|    |181/98 dt  |               |& 5000/-    |    |9 by HC|        |
|    |18.09.98   |               |fine        |    |Patna  |        |
|2   |C-2 34/05  |506 IPC        |1 year      |-   |Bail   |3 yrs, 8|
|    |Dt.        |               |imprisonment|    |28.10.0|months, |
|    |07.04.05   |               |and Rs.1000 |    |9 by   |8 days  |
|    |           |               |fine        |    |Spl.   |        |
|    |           |               |            |    |Court  |        |
|3   |Muffasil PS|363/365 IPC    |3 year      |-   |Bail   |0 Days  |
|    |case       |               |imprisonment|    |11.03.1|        |
|    |61/90 Dt.  |               |            |    |1      |        |
|    |12.04.90   |               |            |    |By Spl.|        |
|    |           |               |            |    |Court  |        |
|    |           |               |            |    |Siwan  |        |
|4   |Hussainganj|364/34 IPC     |Life &      |-   |Bail   |3 yrs 3 |
|    |ps case    |               |Rs.10,000/- |    |21.10.9|mon     |
|    |No.14/99   |               |            |    |9 by HC|        |
|    |dt. 07.2.99|               |            |    |Patna  |        |
|5   |Darauli ps |307/353/34 IPC|10 years &  |    |Bail   |2 yrs 1 |
|    |C.No. 34/96|              |Rs. 2000/-  |    |21.10.0|mon 21  |
|    |dt:        |              |            |    |9 by HC|days    |
|    |04.05.96   |              |            |    |Patna  |        |
|6   |Hussainganj|25I-B) A/26/35|3 Yrs       |-   |Bail   |2 yrs 9 |
|    |ps         |Arms Act      |imprisonment|    |20.10.0|mon 10  |
|    |Case       |              |& 5000/-    |    |9 by HC|days    |
|    |no.44/05   |              |fine        |    |Patna  |        |
|    |Dt.        |              |            |    |       |        |
|    |24.04.05   |              |            |    |       |        |
|7   |Hussainganj|414 IPC & 25  |5 years     |    |Bail   |5 yrs 8 |
|    |ps         |(I-B)/26 Arms |imprisonment|    |16.07.1|mon 9   |
|    |Case no.   |Act           |            |    |1      |days    |
|    |42/05      |              |            |    |       |        |
|    |Dt:24.04.05|              |            |    |       |        |
|8   |Muffasil ps|364/336/302/30|Life        |    |Bail   |6 yrs 10|
|    |Case no.   |1 IPC         |imprisonment|    |14.07.1|months 5|
|    |131/04     |              |            |    |6 by HC|days    |
|    |Dt:        |              |            |    |Patna  |        |
|    |16.08.04   |              |            |    |       |        |
|9   |Hussainganj|411/414 IPC   |3 yrs       |-   |Bail   |3 yrs 11|
|    |ps         |              |imprisonment|    |28.10.0|months  |
|    |Case       |              |            |    |9 by HC|21 days |
|    |no.41/05   |              |            |    |Patna  |        |
|    |Dt:        |              |            |    |       |        |
|    |24.04.05   |              |            |    |       |        |
|10  |Pachruhi ps|392/411 IPC   |This case is|    |-do-   |        |
|    |Case no.   |              |merged in   |    |       |        |
|    |102/04     |              |Hussainganj |    |       |        |
|    |Dt.        |              |ps case no. |    |       |        |
|    |18.10.04   |              |41/05       |    |       |        |

                               ACQUITTED CASES
|Sl. No. |FIR P. S. Case No.      |Under Section                   |
|        |…/dated                 |                                |
|1       |Siwan Town PS           |307/323/341/34 IPC & 27 Arms Act|
|        |Case No. 217/85         |                                |
|        |Dt. 02.09.85            |                                |
|2       |Siwan Town Case         |394 IPC                         |
|        |No.77/86  dt: 08.04.86  |                                |
|3       |Siwan Town PS case no.  |399/402/411/412/414/216A IPC &25|
|        |79/86                   |A/26/35 Arms Act                |
|        |Dt. 10.04.86            |                                |
|4       |Muffasil PS case no.    |147/148/149/325/302 IPC & 27    |
|        |228/86                  |Arms Act 3/5 Explosive Act      |
|5       |Hussainganj PS case no. |363/34 IPC                      |
|        |125/88, Dt. 12.09.88    |                                |
|6       |Siwan Town PS case no.  |307 IPC & 27 Arms Act           |
|        |183/88                  |                                |
|        |Dt: 10.09.88            |                                |
|7       |Siwan Town PS case no.  |307/302/34 IPC & 3/4 Explosive  |
|        |57/89                   |Act                             |
|        |Dt: 15.03.89            |                                |
|8       |Muffasil PS case 91/89  |307/34 IPC & 27 Arms Act        |
|9       |Mairwa (Jiradei) PS case|147/148/149/307/348/302/34 IPC &|
|        |no. 137/89 dt: 21.11.89 |3/4 Explosive Act               |
|10      |Siwan Town PS Case no.  |147/148/149/324/307 IPC & 27    |
|        |108/94                  |Arms Act                        |
|        |/Dt: 22.05.94           |                                |
|11      |Pachurkhi PS case no.   |147/323/427/379 IPC             |
|        |60/945 Dt 13.01.94      |                                |
|12      |Siwan Town PS case no.  |302/307/324/ 120 (B)/ 34 IPC &  |
|        |155/94 Dt: 08.08.94     |27 Arms Act                     |
|13      |Pachrukhi PS case no.   |143/144/427/435 IPC             |
|        |07/95                   |                                |
|        |Dt; 20.01.95            |                                |
|14      |Pachrukhi PS case 08/95 |302/34 IPC                      |
|        |Dt; 20.01.95            |                                |
|15      |Siwan Town PS caseno.   |341/342/323/307/34 IPC & 27 Arms|
|        |11/96 Dt: 18.01.96      |Act                             |
|16      |Hussainganj PS case no. |147/148/149/324/307/302 IPC & 27|
|        |99/96 Dt. 02.05.96      |Arms Act                        |
|17      |Andar PS case no. 32/96 |147/148/149/324/307/302 IPC & 27|
|        |Dt. 02.05.96            |Arms Act                        |
|18      |Andar PS case no. 36/96 |147/148/149/307 IPC             |
|        |Dt. 02.05.96            |                                |
|19      |Siwan Town PS case no.  |365/387 IPC                     |
|        |205/90 dt: 03.09.90     |                                |
|20      |Muffasil PS case no.    |147/148/324/323/307/379/IPC     |
|        |52/88                   |                                |

                                PENDING CASES
|S. No   |FIR P.S. Case No/ Dated  |Under Section                   |
|1       |Hussainganj ; 43/05;     |25 (I-B) 25 Arms Act            |
|        |24.04.05                 |                                |
|2       |Siwan Town ; 99/05;      |420/467/468 IPC                 |
|        |22.04.05                 |                                |
|3       |Muffasil PS; 97/07;      |353/506 IPC                     |
|        |02.05.07                 |                                |
|4       |Hussainganj PS 134/06;   |392/411 IPC                     |
|        |13.10.05                 |                                |
|5       |Muffasil PS; 96/07;      |353/506 IPC                     |
|        |02.05.07                 |                                |
|6       |Hussainganj PS; 39/05;   |25 (I-B) a/26 Arms Act, 120 B   |
|        |24.04.05                 |                                |
|7       |Muffasil PS; 289/10;     |414/353 IPC                     |
|        |22.07.10                 |                                |
|8       |Andarps ; 41/99; 05.07.99|14/248/149/341/324 IPC & 27 Arms|
|        |                         |Act                             |
|9       |C-2; 54/05; 25.04.05     |9/44/46/48/49/49(B)/50/51       |
|10      |Hussaingani; 114/05;     |25(1-b) A/25 Arms Act (1-B) (H) |
|        |26.08.05                 |25(4) 26(1)35 Arms Act          |
|11      |Siwan Town; 11/01;       |147/148/186/353/452/506 IPC     |
|        |18.01.01                 |                                |
|12      |Hussainganj PS; 48/05;   |379 IPC & 39/44 Electricity Act |
|        |24.04.05                 |                                |
|13      |C-2; 27/09; 16.03.09     |52 Prisoner Act 1984            |
|14      |Siwan Rail PS; 33/97;    |147/148/149/341/323/353/ 504 IPC|
|        |02.09.97                 |@ 27 Arms Act                   |
|15      |Muffasil PS; 131/06;     |189/353/506 IPC                 |
|        |17.06.06                 |                                |
|16      |Muffasil PS; 225/11;     |353/504/506/34 IPC              |
|        |12.07.11                 |                                |
|17      |Siwan Town; 229/05;      |341/302/307/34 IPC              |
|        |25.10.05                 |                                |
|18      |Muffasil PS; 333/11;     |188 IPC & 52 Prisoner Act 1894  |
|        |0510.11                  |u/s 420/468/471 IPC             |
|19      |Muffasil PS; 56/07;      |147/149/341/342/323/307/337 IPC |
|        |20.03.07                 |                                |
|20      |Andar PS; 10/98; 29.01.98|147/148/149/341/506 IPC & 27    |
|        |                         |Arms Act                        |
|21      |Town PS; 220/14; 17.06.14|302/34/120 B IPC & 27 Arms Act  |
|22      |C-2; 62/07; 03.08.07     |52 Prisoner Act 1894            |
|23      |C-2; 67/08; 01.09.08     |52 Prisoner Act 1894            |
|24      |Muffasil PS; 226/13;     |188 IPC & 52 Prisoner Act 1894  |
|        |01.06.13                 |                                |
|25      |Muffasil PS; 182/08;     |341/504/353/34 IPC              |
|        |02.08.08                 |                                |
|26      |Hussainganj PS; 34/01;   |454/380 IPC                     |
|        |17.03.01                 |                                |
|27      |Siwan Town PS; 33/01;    |147/148/149/307/353/323/333/379/|
|        |17.03.01                 |380/447/452/427/435/120 –b IPC &|
|        |                         |27 Arms Act                     |
|28      |Muffasil PS; 08/01;      |364 IPC                         |
|        |13.01.01                 |                                |
|29      |Barhariyaps ; 82/04;     |302/120-B, 363 IPC & 27 Arms Act|
|        |08.08.04                 |                                |
|30      |Hussainganj PS           |302/120-B                       |
|31      |Muffasil PS; 150/09;     |307 IPC                         |
|        |24.06.09                 |                                |
|32      |Siwan Town; 20/02;       |302/ 120 (NB)/34 IPC            |
|        |05.03.02                 |                                |
|33      | Siwan Town; 23/05;      |147/148/149/341/379/364 IPC     |
|        |10.02.05                 |                                |
|34      |Siwan Town ; 102/98;     |302/34 IPC & 27 Arms Act        |
|        |13.07.98                 |                                |
|35      |Muffasil PS; 32/01;      |307/149 IPC & @7 Arms Act       |
|        |15.03.01                 |                                |
|36      |Siwan Town; 145/98;      |147/148/149/307/323/341/353/379/|
|        |09.09.98                 |504 IPC & 27 Arms Act           |
|37      |Siwan Town; 147/98;      |307/139 IPC & 27 Arms Act       |
|        |09.09.98                 |                                |
|38      |Hussasinganj PS; 31/01;  |25(1-B)A/26 Arms Act & 3/4      |
|        |17.03.01                 |Explosive Act  &                |
|        |                         |147/148/149/324/307/302/        |
|        |                         |353/332/333/335/120-B IPC       |
|39      |Hussainganj PS; 32/01;   |147/148/120-B/435/149/333/353/  |
|        |17.03.01                 |307 IPC & 27 Arms Act           |
|40      |Hussainganj PS; 33/01;   |25(1-A)/26/27/35 Arms Act & 3/5 |
|        |17.03.01                 |Explosive Act                   |
|41      |Siwan Town; 69/06;       |383/34 IPC                      |
|        |13.03.06                 |                                |
|42      |Siwan Town; 54/97;       |302/307/120-B/34 IPC & 27 Arms  |
|        |31.03.97                 |Act                             |
|43      |Mirgabj (Gopalganj) PS;  |302/34 IPC & 27 Arms Act        |
|        |119/91; 31.05.91         |                                |
|44      |Jugsalai (Jamsedpur) PS; |176/177/179/419/420/468/201/120-|
|        |182/05                   |B IPC                           |
|45      |KMP (Muzaffarpur); 182/05|176/177/179/419/420/468/201/120-|
|        |                         |B IPC”                          |



Be it noted, in certain cases trial has been stayed by the  High  Court  and
in certain cases bail has been granted.
16.   On a perusal of the aforesaid chart, it is  clear  as  noon  day  that
respondent No. 3 has been involved in  numerous  cases;  that  he  has  been
booked in at least 75 cases, out of which he stands convicted in  10  cases;
that he is facing life imprisonment in two, which  include  murder  case  of
the Petitioner’s two sons, and 10 years rigorous imprisonment in  one;  that
out of 45 pending cases, at least 21 are those where maximum sentence  is  7
years and more, including 9 for murder and 4 for  attempt  to  murder;  that
apart from the murder of the Petitioner’s two sons, there are  at  least  15
out of total 45 pending cases which have been registered against  him  while
he was in jail and out of these 15 pending cases, one is for the  murder  of
the Petitioner’s third son and two are for attempt to murder.  He  has  been
declared a history-sheeter Type ‘A’ (who is beyond reform).
17.   Referring to the chart, it is urged  with  vehemence  by  Mr.  Bhushan
that the third respondent is a criminal of such nature who is beyond  reform
and his influence is writ large in the State of Bihar.  It is  contended  by
him that the said respondent has been a Member of Legislative  Assembly  for
two times and Member of Parliament from Siwan on four occasions.  In such  a
situation, contend Mr. Bhushan and Mr. Dave,  it  is  absolutely  difficult,
nay, impossible to get justice  because  utmost  fear  prevails  and  nerve-
wrecking terror reigns supreme in the  locality.   In  such  an  atmosphere,
justice will be the first  casualty  and,  therefore,  this  Court,  as  the
protector of the constitutional rights, should direct transfer of the  third
respondent to a jail outside Bihar  wherever  trial  by  video  conferencing
would be possible.  Mr. Bhushan,   in  the  course  of  his  arguments,  has
commended us to  certain  authorities,  which  we  shall  refer  to  at  the
relevant stage.  Mr. Gopal Singh, learned counsel for  the  State  of  Bihar
submitted that the State of  Bihar  is  wedded  to  rule  of  law  and  will
religiously endeavour to carry out the directions of  this  Court  that  the
Court may ultimately direct, regard being had to the concept of fair  trial.

18.    Mr.  Naphade,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for   the   third
respondent, would contend that for the purpose of  transferring  an  accused
from the State of Bihar to a prison outside the State  there  must  exist  a
law on the statute book which permits such transfer.  In the absence of  any
law, it is not permissible in law to issue any direction for such  transfer.
 According to Mr. Naphade, by transfer to a prison outside  the  State,  the
rights of an under-trial prisoner under Articles 14 and 21 are violated  and
when the third respondent is facing trial in 45 cases, his  transfer  should
not be so directed.  Learned senior counsel would urge that if an action  of
a State is prejudicial to the right of an individual, it has  to  be  backed
by an authority of law and in the absence of the same,  such  an  action  is
inconceivable. It is further propounded by Mr.  Naphade  that  an  order  of
transfer cannot be passed in exercise of power  under  Article  142  of  the
Constitution, as it will be inconsistent with the substantive provisions  of
the relevant statutory law.  It is canvassed  by  Mr.  Naphade  that  powers
exercisable under Article 142 is to  do  complete  justice,  but  it  cannot
assume a legislative character,  for  legislation  is  absolutely  different
than adjudication. It is his further submission that Article  142  does  not
empower this Court to enact law and transferring the third  respondent  from
Bihar to any other prison outside  the  State  would  amount  to  the  Court
enacting the law and then exercising the judicial power to enforce the  law.

19.   Learned senior counsel would put forth  that  transferring  the  third
respondent from his home State to  another  State  would  affect  his  right
under Article 21 of the Constitution and such an order is only  possible  in
accordance with the procedure established by law and in the absence  of  any
law, the submission advanced on behalf  of  the  petitioners  is  absolutely
untenable.  Criticising the rhetorical arguments assiduously  structured  by
the learned senior counsel for the petitioners, it is astutely expounded  by
Mr. Naphade that the argument is fundamentally founded on  equity  which  is
given  the  colour  of  justice  and  fairness  in  trial,  nullifying   the
fundamental principle that equity has to yield to the statutory  provisions.
 Further, the third respondent, as an accused,  has  a  right  to  be  tried
fairly under Article 21 and his right cannot be scuttled or corroded at  the
instance of the petitioners.  Learned senior counsel would urge  that  in  a
case of the present nature, the question of balancing  of  rights  does  not
arise,  for  the  principle  of  balancing  of  rights  applies  where   two
fundamental rights compete but here it is the right of the third  respondent
which has to be protected under Article 21 which has been given  the  highly
cherished value by this Court, and the Court is the sole  protector  of  the
said right.
20.   First, we shall have a survey of the statutory law in the field.   The
Prisoners Act, 1900 was  brought  into  existence  to  consolidate  the  law
relating to prisoners confined by the order of a court.   As Section  29  of
the Prisoners Act, 1900 covered a different field,  the  Parliament  thought
it appropriate to bring in the Transfer of Prisoners Act, 1950  (for  short,
“the 1950 Act”).  It is necessary to state what compelled the Parliament  to
bring the said legislation.  The Statement of Objects  and  Reasons  of  the
1950 Act states as follows:-
“Section 29 of the Prisoners Act, 1900, inter alia, provided for the  inter-
State transfer of prisoners between the States in Parts A, C and  D  of  the
First Schedule to  the  Constitution.   There  was  no  provision,  however,
either in the Prisoners Act, 1900 or any  other  law  for  the  transfer  of
prisoners in those States to prisons  in  Part  B  States  and  vice  versa.
Cases may arise where the removal for the transfer of prisoners  from  Parts
A, C and D States to  Part  B  States  and  vice  versa  may  be  considered
administratively desirable or necessary”

21.   Section 3 of the 1950 Act reads as follows:-
“3. Removal of prisoners from one State to another:- (1)  Where  any  person
is confined in a prison in a State.-
(a) under sentence of death, or

(b) under or in lieu of a sentence of imprisonment or transportation or

(c) in default of payment of a fine, or

(d) in default of giving security for keeping the peace or  for  maintaining
good behaviour;

the Government of that State may, with the consent of the Government of  any
other State, by order, provide for the removal of the  prisoner   from  that
prison to any prison in the other State.

(2) The officer in charge of the prison  to  which  any  person  is  removed
under sub-section(1) shall receive  and  detain  him,  so  far  as  may  be,
according to the exigency of any writ, warrant or  order  of  the  court  by
which such person has been committed, or until such person is discharged  or
removed in due course of law.”

22.   We are required to examine, when the said provision  permits  transfer
outside the State only in certain circumstances and the case  of  respondent
No. 3 does not come within any  of  the  circumstances,  could  the  accused
respondent be transferred from the prison  in  Bihar  to  any  other  prison
situate in another State.  It is also necessary  to  be  addressed,  whether
the  transfer  would  vitiate  the  basic  tenet  of  Article  21   of   the
Constitution and should such  a  right  be  allowed  to  founder.   In  this
regard,  we  have  been   commended   to   Sunil   Batra   (II)   v.   Delhi
Administration[2] and State of Maharashtra & ors v. Saeed Sohail Sheikh  and
Ors.[3].
23.   In Sunil Batra  (II)  (supra),  a  writ  petition  was  registered  on
receipt of a letter from the prisoner complaining of  a  brutal  assault  by
Head Warder on another  prisoner.   The  letter  was  metamorphosed  into  a
proceeding under Article 32 of the Constitution.  The Court referred to  the
decision in Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration & Ors.[4] to opine that  the
said decision imparts to the habeas corpus writ  a  versatile  vitality  and
operational utility that makes a healing presence of the law to live  up  to
its reputation as bastion of liberty even within the secrecy of  the  hidden
cell.  The Court discussing about the perspective  in  the  context  of  the
prisoners right and the torture,  reproduced  a  passage  from  Sir  Winston
Churchill that was referred to in Sunil Batra  (supra).   The  said  passage
reads thus:-
“The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of  crime  and
criminals is one of the most unfailing tests  of  the  civilization  of  any
country. A calm dispassionate recognition of the rights of the accused,  and
even of the convicted criminal,  against  the  State  —  a  constant  heart-
searching by all charged  with  the  duty  of  punishment  —  a  desire  and
eagerness to rehabilitate in the world  of  industry  those  who  have  paid
their due in the hard coinage of punishment: tireless  efforts  towards  the
discovery of curative  and  regenerative  processes:  unfailing  faith  that
there is a treasure, if you can only find it, in the  heart  of  every  man.
These are the symbols, which, in the treatment of crime and  criminal,  mark
and measure the stored-up strength of a nation, and are sign  and  proof  of
the living virtue in it.”

      We may  immediately  say,  we  share  the  same  thought  without  any
reservation.
24.   The Court observed that it was the import of the Preamble and  Article
21 of the Constitution that  the  protection  of  the  prisoner  would  come
within the rights that is needed protection under Article  32.   The  three-
Judge Bench referred to the facts and thereafter adverting to the rights  of
the prisoners opined thus:-
“40. Prisoners are peculiarly and doubly handicapped. For  one  thing,  most
prisoners belong  to  the  weaker  segment,  in  poverty,  literacy,  social
station and the like. Secondly, the  prison  house  is  a  walled-off  world
which is incommunicado for the human world, with the result that the  bonded
inmates are invisible, their voices inaudible,  their  injustices  unheeded.
So it is imperative, as implicit in Article 21, that life or liberty,  shall
not be kept in  suspended  animation  or  congealed  into  animal  existence
without the freshening flow of fair procedure. The meaning of  ‘life’  given
by Field, J.,  approved  in  Kharak  Singh[5]  and  Maneka  Gandhi[6]  bears
excerption:

“Something more than mere  animal  existence.  The  inhibition  against  its
deprivation extends to all those  limbs  and  faculties  by  which  life  is
enjoyed. The provision equally prohibits the mutilation of the body  by  the
amputation of an arm  or  leg,  or  the  putting  out  of  an  eye,  or  the
destruction  of  any  other  organ  of  the  body  through  which  the  soul
communicates with the outer world.”

Therefore, inside prisons are persons and their personhood, if  crippled  by
law-keepers turning law-breakers, shall be forbidden by  the  writ  of  this
Court from such wrongdoing.  Fair  procedure,  in  dealing  with  prisoners,
therefore, calls for another dimension of access  to  law-provision,  within
easy reach, of the law which limits liberty to  persons  who  are  prevented
from moving out of prison gates.”

25.   The learned  Judges  affirmed  the  position,  as  had  been  held  by
Chandrachud, J., (as His Lordship then was) in D.  Bhuvan  Mohan  Patnaik  &
Ors v. State of A.P. & Ors[7]:-
“Convicts are not, by mere reason of the  conviction,  denuded  of  all  the
fundamental rights which they otherwise  possess.  A  compulsion  under  the
authority of law, following upon a conviction, to  live  in  a  prison-house
entails by its own force the deprivation of fundamental  freedoms  like  the
right to move freely throughout the territory  of  India  or  the  right  to
‘practise’ a profession. A man of profession would thus  stand  stripped  of
his right to hold consultations while serving  out  his  sentence.  But  the
Constitution guarantees other freedoms like the right to acquire,  hold  and
dispose of property for the  exercise  of  which  incarceration  can  be  no
impediment. Likewise, even a convict  is  entitled  to  the  precious  right
guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution that he shall not  be  deprived
of his life or personal liberty except according  to  procedure  established
by law.”

26.   Eventually, they laid down:-
“48. Inflictions may take many protean forms, apart from physical  assaults.
Pushing the prisoner into a solitary cell, denial of  a  necessary  amenity,
and, more dreadful sometimes, transfer to a distant prison where  visits  or
society of friends or relations  may  be  snapped,  allotment  of  degrading
labour, assigning him to a desperate or tough gang  and  the  like,  may  be
punitive in effect. Every such affliction or abridgment is an infraction  of
liberty or life in its wider sense and cannot be  sustained  unless  Article
21 is satisfied. There must  be  a  corrective  legal  procedure,  fair  and
reasonable and effective. Such infraction will be arbitrary,  under  Article
14 if it is dependent on unguided discretion,  unreasonable,  under  Article
19 if it is irremediable and unappealable, and unfair, under Article  21  if
it violates natural justice. The string of guidelines in Batra1 set  out  in
the first judgment, which we adopt, provides for a hearing at  some  stages,
a review by a  superior,  and  early  judicial  consideration  so  that  the
proceedings may not hop from Caesar to Caesar. We direct  strict  compliance
with those norms and institutional provisions for that purpose.”

27.   Considerable emphasis was laid  on  the  aspect  that  transfer  to  a
distant prison where visits or society of friends or relations  is  snapped,
is an affliction or abridgment and the same is an infraction of  liberty  or
life in its wider sense  and  cannot  be  sustained  unless  Article  21  is
satisfied. This would be a relevant aspect as held  in  Saeed  Sohail  Sheik
(supra).  In the said  case,  the  Court  referred  to  Section  29  of  the
Prisoners Act, 1900. Interpreting the said provision the Court held:-
“20. Reliance upon  sub-section  (2)  of  Section  29,  in  support  of  the
contention that the transfer of an undertrial is permissible, is also of  no
assistance to the appellants  in  our  opinion.  Sub-section  (2)  no  doubt
empowers the Inspector General of Prisons to direct a transfer but  what  is
important is that any such transfer is of a  prisoner  who  is  confined  in
circumstances mentioned in sub-section (1) of Section 29.  That  is  evident
from the use of words “any prisoner confined as aforesaid in a prison”.  The
expression leaves no manner of doubt that a transfer under  sub-section  (2)
is also permissible only if it relates to prisoners  who  were  confined  in
circumstances indicated in sub-section (1) of Section  29.  The  respondents
in the present case were undertrials who could not have been transferred  in
terms of the orders of the Inspector General of  Prisons  under  Section  29
extracted above.”


28.   Thereafter, the Court referred to Section 26 of the Prisons Act,  1894
and Sections 167 and 309 of the CrPC and adverted to  the  nature  of  power
exercisable by the Court while permitting  or  refusing  the  transfer.   In
that context it ruled:-
“25.  ……We  have,  however,  no  hesitation  in  holding  that   the   power
exercisable  by  the  court  while  permitting  or  refusing   transfer   is
“judicial” and not “ministerial” as contended by  Mr  Naphade.  Exercise  of
ministerial power is out of place in situations where  quality  of  life  or
the liberty of a citizen is affected, no matter he/she is under  a  sentence
of imprisonment or is facing a criminal charge in  an  ongoing  trial.  That
transfer of an undertrial to a  distant  prison  may  adversely  affect  his
right to defend himself but  also  isolate  him  from  the  society  of  his
friends and relations is settled by the decision  of  this  Court  in  Sunil
Batra (2) v. Delhi Admn.”

29.   In the ultimate analysis, the Court arrived  at  the  conclusion  that
any order that the Court may make on a request for transfer  of  a  prisoner
is bound to affect him prejudicially, and, therefore, it is  obligatory  for
the court to apply its mind fairly and objectively to the  circumstances  in
which the transfer is being prayed for and take  a  considered  view  having
regard to the objections which the prisoner may have to offer. There  is  in
that process of determination and decision-making an implicit  duty  to  act
fairly, objectively or in other words, to act judicially.
30.   The aforesaid two pronouncements have been  pressed  into  service  to
buttress the stand that transfer of prisoner to  a  distant  place  violates
inherent constituent of Article 21 of the Constitution. It is also  proponed
that if the transfer is directed, it  would  affect  the  edifice  of  “fair
trial” to which an accused is entitled to within the ambit and sweep of  the
said Article.  The aforesaid two limbs of submission founded  on  the  basic
principle  of  right  to  life  require  to  be  appositely  understood  and
appreciated. The first plank of submission in  this  regard  that  has  been
structured with phenomenal perceptiveness is that an  order  transferring  a
prisoner, a convict or under  trial  to  a  distance  prison  is  absolutely
unacceptable and, if such an order is passed, it would clearly  violate  the
fundamental right of the accused which  has  been  conferred  on  him  under
Article 21 in its expanded horizon. In Sunil Batra  (II)  (supra),  we  find
that the transfer from one prison to another was not the  real  controversy.
The controversy pertained to a different  factual  score.  The  observations
made in para 49 of  the  said  judgment  really  pertain  to  protection  of
prisoners in the jail.  By taking  recourse  to  the  epistolary  method  of
entertaining a petition under Article 32  of  the  Constitution,  the  Court
expressed its concern about the ill treatment and torture  to  prisoners  in
the jail and reflected on prison reforms.   It is worthy to note  that  that
the Court has really stated that transfer in certain cases may  be  punitive
in effect and such actions may tantamount to affliction on liberty  or  life
in  the  wider  sense.  Simultaneously,  the  Court  has  ruled  that   such
affliction  or  abridgement  cannot  be  sustained  unless  Article  21   is
satisfied and there has to be a correct legal procedure, and  the  procedure
to be adopted has to be fair and reasonable, and the discretion  should  not
be exercised in an unguided or unreasonable  manner.    Thus,  the  decision
itself does not lay down the principle in absolute  terms.   Similarly,  the
authority in Saeed Sohail Sheik  (supra) was  dealing  with  transfer  of  a
prisoner and focused  on  the  nature  of  power  exercised  by  the  Court.
Reference to Sunil Batra (II) (supra) was made to bolster that an  order  of
transfer from one prison to another is not a  ministerial  act.   Thus,  the
said authority is not a  precedent  for  the  proposition  that  an  accused
cannot be transferred to a prison at a distant  place,  when  justice,  fair
and free trial so requires.
31.   This aspect of Article 21, it is imperative, has to be tested  on  the
bedrock of fair trial.  The question that is required to be posed is if  the
accused is transferred to another jail in  another  State,  would  the  same
become an apology for trial or promote and safeguard free  and  fair  trial.
The argument that all relevant witnesses are in Siwan and the witnesses  the
defence intends to cite are in Siwan and  in  such  a  situation  the  trial
after shifting cannot be characterized as fair  trial  refers  to  only  one
aspect. The concept of fair trial recognized  under  the  Code  of  Criminal
Procedure is conferred an elevated status under the Constitution, is a  much
broader and wider concept.  If the transfer will create a dent in  the  said
concept, there is no justification to accept such a prayer at the behest  of
the petitioners.  In oppugnation, the conception of fair trial  in  criminal
jurisprudence is not one way traffic,  but  includes  the  accused  and  the
victim and it is the duty of the court to weigh the balance. When  there  is
threat to life, liberty and fear pervades, it sends  shivers  in  the  spine
and corrodes the basic marrows of holding of the trial  at  Siwan.  This  is
quite farther from the idea of fair trial. The  grievance  of  the  victims,
who have enormously and apparently suffered deserves to  be  dealt  with  as
per the law of the land and should not remain a mirage and a distant  dream.
As we find, both sides have propounded the propositions  in  extreme  terms.
And we have a duty to balance.
32.   To appreciate the contention on this score, we may, at present,  refer
to  certain  authorities  that  have  dealt   with   fair   trial   in   the
constitutional and statutory backdrop.
33.   In J. Jayalalithaa & Ors v. State of Karnataka &  Ors.[8],  the  Court
held that fair trial is the main  object  of  criminal  procedure  and  such
fairness should not be hampered or threatened  in  any  manner.  Fair  trial
must be accorded to every accused in the spirit of the  right  to  life  and
personal liberty and the  accused  must  get  a  free  and  fair,  just  and
reasonable trial on the charge imputed in  a  criminal  case.  It  has  been
further observed that any breach or violation of public  rights  and  duties
adversely affects the community as a whole and it  becomes  harmful  to  the
society in general and, therefore, in all circumstances, the courts  have  a
duty to maintain public confidence in  the  administration  of  justice  and
such duty is to vindicate and uphold  the  “majesty  of  the  law”  and  the
courts cannot turn a blind eye  to  vexatious  or  oppressive  conduct  that
occurs in relation to criminal proceedings.  The  Court  further  laid  down
that denial of a fair trial is as much injustice to the  accused  as  is  to
the victim and the society.  It  necessarily  requires  a  trial  before  an
impartial Judge, a fair prosecutor  and  an  atmosphere  of  judicial  calm.
Since the object of the trial is to mete out  justice  and  to  convict  the
guilty and protect the innocent, the trial should be a search for the  truth
and not about over technicalities and must be conducted under such rules  as
will protect the innocent and punish the guilty. Justice should not only  be
done but should be seen to have been done. Therefore, free  and  fair  trial
is a sine qua non of Article 21 of the Constitution. Right  to  get  a  fair
trial is not only a  basic  fundamental  right,  but  a  human  right  also.
Therefore, any hindrance in a fair trial could be violative  of  Article  14
of  the  Constitution.   Elevating  the  right  of  fair  trial,  the  Court
observed:-
“Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights  provides  for  the
right to a fair trial what is enshrined in Article 21 of  our  Constitution.
Therefore, fair trial is the heart of criminal jurisprudence and, in a  way,
an important facet of a democratic polity and is governed  by  the  rule  of
law. Denial of fair trial is crucifixion of human rights.  [Vide  Triveniben
v. State of Gujarat[9], Abdul Rehman Antulay  v.  R.S.  Nayak[10],  Raj  Deo
Sharma  (2)  v.  State  of  Bihar[11],  Dwarka  Prasad   Agarwal   v.   B.D.
Agarwal[12], K. Anbazhagan v. Supt. of Police[13], Zahira Habibullah  Sheikh
(5) v. State of Gujarat[14], Noor Aga  v.  State  of  Punjab[15],  Amarinder
Singh v. Parkash Singh Badal[16], Mohd. Hussain v. State (Govt.  of  NCT  of
Delhi)[17], Sudevanand v. State[18],  Rattiram  v.  State  of  M.P.[19]  and
Natasha Singh v. CBI[20].]”

 34.  In this regard, we may sit in the time machine and refer to  a  three-
Judge  Bench  judgment  in  Maneka  Sanjay  Gandhi   &   another   v.   Rani
Jethmalani[21], wherein it has been observed that assurance of a fair  trial
is the first imperative of the  dispensation  of  justice  and  the  central
criterion for the court to consider when a motion for transfer  is  made  is
not the  hypersensitivity  or  relative  convenience  of  a  party  or  easy
availability of legal  services  or  like  mini-grievances.  Something  more
substantial, more compelling, more imperilling, from the point  of  view  of
public justice and its attendant environment is necessitous,  if  the  court
is to exercise its  power  of  transfer.  This  is  the  cardinal  principle
although the circumstances may be myriad and vary from  case  to  case.  The
Court observed that accused  cannot  dictate  where  the  case  against  him
should be tried and, in  a case, it the duty  of  the  Court  to  weigh  the
circumstances.
35.    In Rattiram (supra), speaking on fair trial, the Court opined  that:-

“39. … Fundamentally, a fair and impartial trial has a  sacrosanct  purpose.
It has a demonstrable object that the accused should not  be  prejudiced.  A
fair trial is required to be conducted in such a manner which would  totally
ostracise injustice, prejudice, dishonesty and favouritism.”

      In the said case, it has further been held that:-

“60. While delineating on the facets of speedy trial, it cannot be  regarded
as an exclusive right of the accused. The right of a victim has  been  given
recognition in  Mangal  Singh  v.  Kishan  Singh[22]  wherein  it  has  been
observed thus:

 ‘14. … Any inordinate delay in conclusion of a criminal  trial  undoubtedly
has a highly deleterious effect on the society generally,  and  particularly
on the two sides of the case. But it will be a grave mistake to assume  that
delay in trial does not cause acute suffering and anguish to the  victim  of
the offence. In many  cases  the  victim  may  suffer  even  more  than  the
accused. There is, therefore, no reason to give all the benefits on  account
of the delay in trial to the accused and to completely deny all  justice  to
the victim of the offence.’

61. It is worth noting that the Constitution Bench in Iqbal Singh Marwah  v.
Meenakshi Marwah[23] though in a different context, had also  observed  that
delay in the prosecution of a  guilty  person  comes  to  his  advantage  as
witnesses become reluctant to give evidence and the evidence gets lost.

      x          x           x          x

64. Be it noted, one cannot afford to treat the victim  as  an  alien  or  a
total stranger to the criminal trial. The criminal jurisprudence,  with  the
passage of time, has laid emphasis on victimology which fundamentally  is  a
perception of a trial from the viewpoint of the  criminal  as  well  as  the
victim. Both are viewed in the social context. The view  of  the  victim  is
given due regard and respect in certain countries.  In  respect  of  certain
offences in our  existing  criminal  jurisprudence,  the  testimony  of  the
victim is given paramount importance. Sometimes it is perceived that  it  is
the duty of the court to  see  that  the  victim’s  right  is  protected.  A
direction for retrial is to put the clock back and it would  be  a  travesty
of justice to so direct if the trial really has not been  unfair  and  there
has been no miscarriage of justice or failure of justice.”

36.   Be it noted, the Court in the said case had noted that  there  has  to
be a fair trial and no miscarriage of justice and  under  no  circumstances,
prejudice should be caused  to  the  accused  but,  a  pregnant  one,  every
procedural lapse or every  interdict  that  has  been  acceded  to  and  not
objected at the appropriate stage would not get the trial dented or make  it
unfair. Treating it to be unfair would amount to  an  undesirable  state  of
pink of perfection in procedure. An absolute  apple-pie  order  in  carrying
out the adjective law, would only be sound and fury signifying nothing.”
37.   In Manu Sharma v. State (NCT of Delhi)[24], the Court, emphasizing  on
the concept of fair trial, observed thus:-
“197. In the Indian criminal jurisprudence,  the  accused  is  placed  in  a
somewhat advantageous position than under different  jurisprudence  of  some
of the countries in the world. The criminal  justice  administration  system
in India places human rights and dignity for human life  at  a  much  higher
pedestal. In our jurisprudence an accused is presumed to  be  innocent  till
proved guilty,  the  alleged  accused  is  entitled  to  fairness  and  true
investigation and fair  trial  and  the  prosecution  is  expected  to  play
balanced role  in  the  trial  of  a  crime.  The  investigation  should  be
judicious, fair, transparent and expeditious to ensure compliance  with  the
basic rule of  law.  These  are  the  fundamental  canons  of  our  criminal
jurisprudence and they are  quite  in  conformity  with  the  constitutional
mandate contained in Articles 20 and 21 of the Constitution of India.”

38.   A three-Judge Bench in Mohd. Hussain  @  Julfikar  Ali  v.  The  State
(Govt. of NCT) Delhi[25] approvingly  reproduced  para  33  of  the  earlier
judgment in Zahira Habibulla H. Sheikh v. State  of  Gujarat[26]  (known  as
“Best Bakery” case) which is to the following effect:-
“33. The principle of fair trial now informs and  energises  many  areas  of
the law. It is reflected in numerous rules and practices. It is a  constant,
ongoing  development  process  continually  adapted  to  new  and   changing
circumstances, and exigencies of the  situation  —  peculiar  at  times  and
related to the nature of crime, persons involved  —  directly  or  operating
behind,  social  impact  and  societal  needs  and  even  so  many  powerful
balancing factors which may come in the way of  administration  of  criminal
justice system.”


39.   In Zahira Habibulla H. Sheikh (supra), it has been held:-
“38. A criminal trial is a judicial examination of the issues  in  the  case
and its purpose is to arrive at a judgment on an  issue  as  to  a  fact  or
relevant facts which may lead to the discovery of the fact issue and  obtain
proof of such facts at which the prosecution and the  accused  have  arrived
by their pleadings; the controlling question being the  guilt  or  innocence
of the accused. Since the object is to mete out justice and to  convict  the
guilty and protect the innocent, the trial should be a search for the  truth
and not about over technicalities, and must be conducted  under  such  rules
as will protect the innocent, and punish the guilty.  The  proof  of  charge
which  has  to  be  beyond  reasonable  doubt  must  depend  upon   judicial
evaluation of the totality of the evidence,  oral  and  circumstantial,  and
not by an isolated scrutiny.

39. Failure to accord fair hearing either to the accused or the  prosecution
violates even minimum standards of due process of law.  It  is  inherent  in
the concept of due process of law,  that  condemnation  should  be  rendered
only after the trial in which the hearing is a real one, not sham or a  mere
farce and pretence. Since  the  fair  hearing  requires  an  opportunity  to
preserve the process, it may be  vitiated  and  violated  by  an  overhasty,
stage-managed, tailored and partisan trial.

40. The fair trial for a criminal offence consists  not  only  in  technical
observance of the frame and forms of law, but also in recognition  and  just
application of its principles in  substance,  to  find  out  the  truth  and
prevent miscarriage of justice.”

40.   In Mohd. Hussain @ Julfikar Ali  (supra)  the  three-Judge  Bench  has
drawn a distinction between the speedy trial and fair trial by opining  that
there is, however, qualitative difference between the right to speedy  trial
and the accused’s right of fair trial. Unlike the accused’s  right  of  fair
trial, deprivation of the right to speedy trial does not  per  se  prejudice
the accused in defending himself. The right to speedy trial is in  its  very
nature relative. It depends upon diverse circumstances. Each case  of  delay
in conclusion of  a  criminal  trial  has  to  be  seen  in  the  facts  and
circumstances  of  such  case.  Mere  lapse  of  several  years  since   the
commencement of prosecution by itself may not justify the discontinuance  of
prosecution  or  dismissal  of  indictment.  The  factors   concerning   the
accused’s right to speedy trial have to be weighed vis-à-vis the  impact  of
the crime on society and the confidence of the people  in  judicial  system.
Speedy trial secures rights to an accused  but  it  does  not  preclude  the
rights  of  public  justice.  The  nature  and  gravity  of  crime,  persons
involved, social impact and societal needs must be weighed  along  with  the
right of the accused to speedy trial and if the balance tilts in  favour  of
the former the long  delay  in  conclusion  of  criminal  trial  should  not
operate against the continuation of prosecution and  if  the  right  of  the
accused in the facts  and  circumstances  of  the  case  and  exigencies  of
situation tilts the balance in his favour, the prosecution  may  be  brought
to an end.
41.   We have referred to the said authority as the  three-Judge  Bench  has
categorically stated that interests  of  the  society  at  large  cannot  be
disregarded or totally ostracized while applying the test of fair trial.
42.   In Bablu Kumar and Ors. v. State of  Bihar  and  Anr.[27]   the  Court
observed that  it is  the  duty  of  the  court  to  see  that  neither  the
prosecution nor the accused play truancy with the criminal trial or  corrode
the sanctity of the  proceeding.  They  cannot  expropriate  or  hijack  the
community  interest  by  conducting  themselves  in  such  a  manner  as   a
consequence of which the trial becomes a  mock  trial.   The  Court  further
ruled that a criminal trial is  a  serious  concern  of  society  and  every
member of the collective has an inherent  interest  in  such  a  trial  and,
therefore, the court is duty-bound to see that neither the  prosecution  nor
the defence takes unnecessary adjournments and take the  trial  under  their
control.   The said observations were made keeping in view  the  concept  of
fair  trial,  the  obligation  of  the  prosecution,  the  interest  of  the
community and the duty of the court.
43.   Recently, in State  of  Haryana  v.  Ram  Mehar  and  Ors.[28],  after
analyzing the earlier judgments, the Court ruled that  the  concept  of  the
fair trial is neither in the realm of abstraction or a vague idea.  It is  a
concrete phenomenon; it is not rigid and there cannot  be  any  straitjacket
formula for applying the  same.   The  Court  observed  that  it  cannot  be
attributed or clothed with any  kind  of  rigidity  or  flexibility  in  its
application. It is because fair trial in its ambit requires fairness to  the
accused, the victim and the collective  at  large.   The  Court  ruled  that
neither the accused nor the prosecution nor the victim which is  a  part  of
the society can  claim  absolute  predominance  over  the  other,  for  once
absolute predominance is recognised, it will have  the  effect  potentiality
to bring in an anarchical  disorder  in  the  conducting  of  trial  defying
established legal  norm.   The  Court  opined  that  whole  thing  would  be
dependent  on  the  fact  situation;  established   norms   and   recognised
principles and eventual appreciation of the factual  scenario  in  entirety.
There may be cases which may command compartmentalisation but it  cannot  be
stated to be an inflexible rule.  Each  and  every  irregularity  cannot  be
imported to  the  arena  of  fair  trial.  There  may  be  situations  where
injustice to the victim may play a pivotal role. The centripodal purpose  is
to  see  that  injustice  is  avoided   when   the   trial   is   conducted.
Simultaneously the concept of fair  trial  cannot  be  allowed  to  such  an
extent so that the systemic order of conducting a trial in  accordance  with
CrPC or other enactments get mortgaged to  the  whims  and  fancies  of  the
defence or the prosecution. The command of the Code cannot be thrown to  the
winds. In such situation, as has been laid down in many  an  authority,  the
courts have significantly an eminent role.  A plea of fair trial  cannot  be
acquiesced to create an  organic  disorder  in  the  system.  It  cannot  be
acceded to manure a fertile mind to usher in the nemesis of the  concept  of
trial as such.  The Court further observed that  there  should  not  be  any
inference that the fair trial should not be kept on its own pedestal  as  it
ought to remain but as far as its  applicability  is  concerned,  the  party
invoking it has to establish with the  support  of  established  principles.
The process of the court cannot be abused in the name of fair trial  at  the
drop of a hat, as that would lead to miscarriage of justice.
44.   On a studied analysis of the concept of  fair  trial  as  a  facet  of
Article 21, it is noticeable that in its ambit and sweep it covers  interest
of the accused, prosecution and the victim.  The victim, may be  a  singular
person, who has suffered, but the injury suffered by singular is  likely  to
affect the community interest.   Therefore,  the  collective  under  certain
circumstances and in certain cases, assume the position of the victim.  They
may not be entitled to compensation as conceived under section 357A  of  the
CrPC but their anxiety and concern of the crime and desire to  prevent  such
occurrences and that the perpetrator, if guilty, should be  punished,  is  a
facet of  Rule  of  Law.   And  that  has  to  be  accepted  and  ultimately
protected.
45.   It is settled in law that the right under Article 21 is not  absolute.
It can be curtailed in accordance with law. The curtailment of the right  is
permissible by following due procedure  which  can  withstand  the  test  of
reasonableness.  Submission that if the accused is transferred from jail  in
Siwan to any other jail outside the State of Bihar, his right to fair  trial
would be smothered and there will be an inscription of an obituary  of  fair
trial and refutation of the said proponement, that the accused  neither  has
monopoly over the process nor does he has any  exclusively  absolute  right,
requires a balanced resolution. The opposite arguments are  both  predicated
on the  precept  of  fair  trial  and  the  said  scale  would  decide  this
controversy. The interest of the victim is relevant  and  has  to  be  taken
into consideration. The contention that if the accused is  not  shifted  out
of Siwan Jail, the pending trials would result in  complete  farce,  for  no
witness would be in a position to depose against  him  and  they,  in  total
haplessness, shall be bound to succumb to the feeling  of  accentuated  fear
that is created by his unseen tentacles, is not an artifice  and  cannot  be
ignored. In such a situation, this Court should balance the  rights  between
the accused and the victims and thereafter weigh on the scale of fair  trial
whether shifting is necessary or not.  It would be  travesty  if  we  ignore
the assertion that if the respondent No. 3 is not shifted  from  Siwan  Jail
and the trial is held at Siwan, justice, which is necessitous to be done  in
accordance  with  law,  will  suffer  an  unprecedented  set  back  and  the
petitioners would remain in a constant state of fear that shall  melt  their
bones.  This would imply balancing of rights.
46.   Having noted thus, as presently advised,  we  shall  first  advert  to
certain authorities that pertain to balancing of  rights.   In  Sakal  Paper
(P) Ltd. & Ors v. Union of India & another[29], the Court in the context  of
freedom of speech and expression, has held that freedom  of  speech  can  be
restricted only in the interests of the  security  of  the  State,  friendly
relations with foreign State,  public  order,  decency  or  morality  or  in
relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to  an  offence.  It
cannot, like the freedom to carry on business, be curtailed in the  interest
of the general public.  Analysing further, the Court held:-
“It follows from this that the  State  cannot  make  a  law  which  directly
restricts one freedom even for securing  the  better  enjoyment  of  another
freedom. All the greater  reason,  therefore  for  holding  that  the  State
cannot directly restrict one freedom by  placing  an  otherwise  permissible
restriction on another freedom.”

47.   In Subramanian Swamy v. Union of India[30] the Court  after  referring
to the said authority ruled that:-
“…  the issue herein is sustenance and balancing  of  the  separate  rights,
one under Article 19(1)(a) and the  other,  under  Article  21.  Hence,  the
concept of equipoise and counterweighing  fundamental  rights  of  one  with
other person. It is not a case of mere better enjoyment of another  freedom.
In Acharya Maharajshri Narendra Prasadji Anandprasadji Maharaj v.  State  of
Gujarat[31], it has  been  observed  that  a  particular  fundamental  right
cannot exist in isolation  in  a  watertight  compartment.  One  fundamental
right of a person may have to  coexist  in  harmony  with  the  exercise  of
another fundamental right by others  and  also  with  reasonable  and  valid
exercise of power by the State in the light of the directive  principles  in
the interests of social welfare as a whole. The Court’s duty is to strike  a
balance between competing claims of different interests. In DTC  v.  Mazdoor
Congress[32] the Court has  ruled  that  articles  relating  to  fundamental
rights are all parts of an integrated scheme in the Constitution  and  their
waters must mix to constitute that grand flow  of  unimpeded  and  impartial
justice; social, economic and political,  and  of  equality  of  status  and
opportunity which imply absence of  unreasonable  or  unfair  discrimination
between individuals or groups or classes.”

48.   In this context, it is also appropriate  to  refer  to  certain  other
decisions where the Court has dealt with the concept  of  competing  rights.
We are disposed to think that dictum  laid  therein  has  to  be  appositely
appreciated.  In Mr. ‘X’ v. Hospital ‘Z’[33], the issue  arose  with  regard
to right to privacy as  implicit  in  the  right  to  life  and  liberty  as
guaranteed to the citizens under Article 21  of  the  Constitution  and  the
right  of  another  to  lead  a  healthy  life.   Dealing  with   the   said
controversy, the Court held as a human being, Ms ‘Y’  must  also  enjoy,  as
she obviously is entitled to, all the human rights available  to  any  other
human being. This is apart from, and in addition to, the  fundamental  right
available to her under Article 21,  which  guarantees  “right  to  life”  to
every citizen of this country.  The Court further held that where  there  is
a clash of two fundamental rights, namely, the appellant’s right to  privacy
as part of right to life and Ms ‘Y’s right to lead a healthy life  which  is
her fundamental right under Article 21, the right which  would  advance  the
public morality or public interest, would  alone  be  enforced  through  the
process of court, for the reason that moral considerations  cannot  be  kept
at bay and the Judges are not expected to sit as mute structures of clay  in
the hall known as the courtroom, but have to be sensitive.
49.   The aforesaid decision is an authority for the proposition that  there
can be a conflict between two individuals qua their right under  Article  21
of the Constitution and in such a situation, to weigh the balance  the  test
that is required to be applied is the test of  larger  public  interest  and
further that would, in certain circumstances,  advance  public  morality  of
the day.  To  put  it  differently,  the  “greater  community  interest”  or
“interest of the collective or social  order”  would  be  the  principle  to
recognize and accept the right of one which has to be protected.
50.   In this context, reference to the pronouncement  in  Rev.  Stainislaus
v. State of M.P. and Ors.[34] would be instructive.  In the said  case,  the
Constitution Bench was dealing with two sets of appeals,  one  arising  from
Madhya Pradesh that related to Madhya Pradesh Dharma Swatantraya  Adhiniyam,
1968 and the other pertained to Orissa Freedom of Religion Act,  1967.   The
two Acts insofar  as  they  were  concerned  with  prohibition  of  forcible
conversion and punishment therefor, were similar.  The larger  Bench  stated
the facts from Madhya Pradesh case which eventually travelled  to  the  High
Court.  The High Court ruled that that there was no  justification  for  the
argument that Sections 3, 4 and 5 were violative of  Article  25(1)  of  the
Constitution.   The  High  Court  went  on  to  hold  that  those   Sections
“establish  the  equality  of  religious  freedom  for   all   citizens   by
prohibiting conversion by objectionable activities  such  as  conversion  by
force, fraud and by allurement”.  The Orissa Act was declared  to  be  ultra
vires the Constitution by the High Court.  To  understand  the  controversy,
the Court posed the following questions:-
“(1)  whether  the  two  Acts  were  violative  of  the  fundamental   right
guaranteed under Article 25(1) of the Constitution, and

(2) whether the State Legislatures were competent to enact them?”

51.   It was contended before this Court that the right to  propagate  one’s
religion means the right to convert a person to one’s own religion and  such
a right is guaranteed by Article 25(1)  of  the  Constitution.   The  larger
Bench dealing with the said contention held:-
“We have no doubt that it is in this sense that  the  word  ‘propagate’  has
been used in Article 25(1), for what the article grants is not the right  to
convert another person to one’s own religion,  but  to  transmit  or  spread
one’s religion by an exposition of its tenets. It has to be remembered  that
Article 25(1) guarantees “freedom of conscience” to every citizen,  and  not
merely to the followers of  one  particular  religion,  and  that,  in  turn
postulates that there is no fundamental right to convert another  person  to
one’s own religion because if a person purposely undertakes  the  conversion
of another person to his religion,  as  distinguished  from  his  effort  to
transmit or spread the tenets of his religion, that  would  impinge  on  the
“freedom of conscience” guaranteed  to  all  the  citizens  of  the  country
alike.”

      And again:-
“It has to be appreciated that the freedom  of  religion  enshrined  in  the
article is not guaranteed in respect of one religion only,  but  covers  all
religions alike, and it can be properly enjoyed by a person if he  exercises
his right in  a  manner  commensurate  with  the  like  freedom  of  persons
following the other religions. What is freedom for one, is freedom  for  the
other, in equal measure, and there can therefore  be  no  such  thing  as  a
fundamental right to convert any person to one’s own religion.”

52.   The aforesaid judgment  clearly  lays  down,  though  in  a  different
context, that what is freedom for one is also the freedom for the  other  in
equal measure.  The perception is explicated when the Court  has  said  that
it has to be remembered that Article 25(1) guarantees freedom of  conscience
to other citizens and not merely to followers  of  particular  religion  and
there is no fundamental right to  convert  another  person.   The  right  is
guaranteed to  all  citizens.   The  right  to  propagate  or  spread  one’s
religion by an exposition of its tenets does  not  mean  one’s  religion  to
convert another person as it affects the fundamental  right  of  the  other.
We have referred to this authority as it has,  in  a  way,  dwelt  upon  the
“intra-conflict of a fundamental right”.
53.   Be it stated,  circumstances  may  emerge  that  may  necessitate  for
balancing  between  intra-fundamental  rights.   It  has   been   distinctly
understood that the test that has to be  applied  while  balancing  the  two
fundamental rights or inter fundamental rights, the principles  applied  may
be different than the principle to be applied in intra-conflict between  the
same fundamental right. To elaborate, as in this case,  the  accused  has  a
fundamental  right  to  have  a  fair  trial  under  Article   21   of   the
Constitution.  Similarly, the victims who are  directly  affected  and  also
form a part of the constituent of the collective, have a  fundamental  right
for  a  fair  trial.   Thus,  there  can  be  two  individuals  both  having
legitimacy to claim or assert the right.  The  factum  of  legitimacy  is  a
primary consideration. It has to be remembered that no fundamental right  is
absolute and  it  can  have  limitations  in  certain  circumstances.  Thus,
permissible limitations are imposed by the State.  The said limitations  are
to be within the bounds of law. However, when  there  is  intra-conflict  of
the right conferred under the same Article, like fair trial  in  this  case,
the test that is required to be applied, we are disposed to think, it  would
be “paramount collective interest” or “sustenance of  public  confidence  in
the justice dispensation system”.  An example can  be  cited.   A  group  of
persons in the name of “class honour”, as has been  stated  in  Vikas  Yadav
v. State of U.P. & Ors.[35], cannot curtail or  throttle  the  choice  of  a
woman.  It is because choice of woman in choosing her partner in life  is  a
legitimate constitutional right.  It is founded on  individual  choice  that
is recognized in the Constitution under Article 19, and such a right is  not
expected to succumb to the concept of “class honour”  or  “group  thinking”.
It is because the sense of class honour has no  legitimacy  even  if  it  is
practised by the collective under some kind of a notion.  Therefore, if  the
collective interest or the public interest that serves the public cause  and
further has the legitimacy to claim or  assert  a  fundamental  right,  then
only it can put forth that their right should be protected.   There  can  be
no denial of the fact that the rights of the victims for a fair trial is  an
inseparable aspect of Article 21 of the Constitution and  when  they  assert
that right by themselves as  well  as  the   part  of  the  collective,  the
conception of public  interest  gets  galvanised.   The  accentuated  public
interest in such circumstances has to be given primacy, for it furthers  and
promotes “Rule of Law”.  It may be  clarified  at  once  that  the  test  of
primacy which is based on legitimacy and  the  public  interest  has  to  be
adjudged on the facts of each case and cannot be stated in  abstract  terms.
It will require studied scanning of facts, the competing interests  and  the
ultimate perception of the balancing that would subserve the  larger  public
interest and serve the majesty of rule of  law.   In  this  regard,  we  are
reminded of an ancient saying:-
                       “yadapi siddham, loka viruddham
                       Na adaraniyam, na acharaniyam”
       The  aforesaid  saying  lays  stress  on  public  interest  and   its
significance and primacy over certain individual interest.  It may not  thus
have general application, but the purpose of referring to the same  is  that
on certain occasions it can be treated to be appropriate.
54.   There may be a perception that  if  principle  of  primacy  is  to  be
followed, then the right of one gets totally extinguished.   It  has  to  be
borne in mind that total extinction is not balancing.   When  balancing  act
is done, the right to  fair  trial  is  not  totally  crippled,  but  it  is
curtailed to some extent by which the accused gets the right of  fair  trial
and simultaneously, the victims feel that the fair trial  is  conducted  and
the court feels assured that there is  a  fair  trial  in  respect  of  such
cases.  That apart, the faith of the collective is reposed in  the  criminal
justice dispensation system and remains anchored.
55.    While  appreciating  the  concept  of  public  interest  in  such   a
situation, the Court is required to engage itself in construing the  process
of fair trial which ultimately subserves the cause of  justice  and  remains
closer to constitutional sensibility.  An  accused,  in  the  name  of  fair
trial, cannot go on seeking adjournments defeating the basic purpose  behind
the conducting of a trial as enshrined under Section 309  CrPC.   He  cannot
go on filing applications under various provisions of CrPC, whether  tenable
or not, and put forth a plea on each and every occasion on the bedrock  that
principle of fair trial sanctions it.  In such  a  situation,  as  has  been
held  by  this  Court,  the  prosecution  which  represents  the  cause   of
collective  and  the  victim,  who  fights  for  remedy  of  his  individual
grievance, is allowed to have a say and the court is not expected  to  be  a
silent spectator.  Thus, the  discord  that  arises  when  there  is  intra-
conflict in the same fundamental right especially, in the  context  of  fair
trial, it has to  be  resolved  regard  being  had  to  the  obtaining  fact
situation.  An accused who has been able to, by his  sheer  presence,  erode
the idea of safety of a witness in court or  for  that  matter  impairs  and
rusts the faith of a victim in the ultimate justice and such erosion is  due
to fear psychosis prevalent in  the  atmosphere  of  trial,  is  not  to  be
countenanced as it is an unconscionable situation. Such a hazard is  not  to
be silently suffered because the “Majesty of Justice” does  not  allow  such
kinds of complaints  to  survive.  Thus  analysed,  the  submission  of  Mr.
Naphade that shifting of the accused outside the  Siwan  Jail  would  affect
his  right  under  Article  21  of  the  Constitution   does   not   commend
acceptation.
56.   The next  limb  of  controversy  relates  to  exercise  of  power  and
jurisdiction.  The plea that is propounded by Mr. Naphade  is  that  in  the
absence of any provision in the 1950 Act, there cannot be any direction  for
shifting.  According to him, any State action which prejudices the right  of
an individual has to be backed by the authority of law and  in  the  absence
of law, such an order is not permissible.  In  this  regard,  he  has  drawn
inspiration from a passage from the  State  of  M.P.  &  another  v.  Thakur
Bharat Singh[36].  It reads as follows:-
“All executive action which operates to the prejudice  of  any  person  must
have the authority of law to support it, and the terms  of  Article  358  do
not detract from that rule. Article 358 expressly authorises  the  State  to
take legislative or executive action provided such action was competent  for
the State to make or take, but for the provisions contained in Part  III  of
the Constitution. Article 358 does not purport  to  invest  the  State  with
arbitrary authority to take action to the prejudice of citizens and  others:
it merely provides that so long as the proclamation  of  emergency  subsists
laws may be enacted, and exclusive action  may  be  taken  in  pursuance  of
lawful authority, which if the  provisions  of  Article  19  were  operative
would have been invalid.”

57.   The aforesaid contention has a  fundamental  fallacy  and,  therefore,
the authority in Thakur Bharat Singh (supra) has  no  application.   In  the
case at hand, no State action is under challenge.   The  plea  of  prejudice
that has been advanced has no legs to stand upon  as  the  petitioners  have
approached this Court for directions.  It is well settled in law that  there
is a distinction between a judicial function  and  the  legislative  action,
and similarly the executive action and a direction from the Court.   It  has
been lucidly clarified by the Constitution Bench in State of W.B. &  Ors  v.
Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, West Bengal &  Ors[37].   The
question arose in the said case was whether the High Court  in  exercise  of
jurisdiction under Article 226  of  the  Constitution  can  direct  the  CBI
established under the Delhi Special  Police  Establishment  Act,  1946  (for
short, ‘Special Police Act’) to investigate a cognizable  offence  which  is
alleged to have taken place within the territorial jurisdiction of  a  State
without the consent of the State Government.   After  referring  to  various
provisions of the Special Police Act, the Court posed the question  “whether
the restrictions imposed on the  powers  of  the  Central  Government  would
apply mutatis mutandis to constitutional courts as well”  and  referring  to
various authorities, recorded number of conclusions, of which  we  reproduce
the relevant ones:-
“(i) The fundamental rights, enshrined in Part III of the Constitution,  are
inherent and cannot be  extinguished  by  any  constitutional  or  statutory
provision.  Any  law  that  abrogates  or  abridges  such  rights  would  be
violative of the basic structure doctrine. The actual effect and  impact  of
the law on the rights guaranteed  under  Part  III  has  to  be  taken  into
account in determining whether or not it destroys the basic structure.

(ii) Article 21 of the  Constitution  in  its  broad  perspective  seeks  to
protect the persons of their lives and personal liberties  except  according
to the  procedure  established  by  law.  The  said  article  in  its  broad
application not only takes within its fold enforcement of the rights  of  an
accused but also the rights of the victim. The State has a duty  to  enforce
the  human  rights  of  a  citizen  providing   for   fair   and   impartial
investigation against any person  accused  of  commission  of  a  cognizable
offence, which may include its own officers. In certain  situations  even  a
witness to the crime may seek for and shall be  granted  protection  by  the
State.

(iii) In view of the constitutional scheme and  the  jurisdiction  conferred
on this Court under Article 32 and on the High Courts under Article  226  of
the Constitution the power of judicial review being an integral part of  the
basic structure of the Constitution, no Act of  Parliament  can  exclude  or
curtail  the  powers  of  the  constitutional  courts  with  regard  to  the
enforcement of fundamental rights. As a matter of  fact,  such  a  power  is
essential to give practicable content to the objectives of the  Constitution
embodied in Part III and other parts of the  Constitution.  Moreover,  in  a
federal  constitution,  the  distribution  of  legislative  powers   between
Parliament and the State  Legislature  involves  limitation  on  legislative
powers and, therefore, this requires an authority other than  Parliament  to
ascertain whether such limitations are transgressed.  Judicial  review  acts
as the final arbiter  not  only  to  give  effect  to  the  distribution  of
legislative powers between Parliament and  the  State  Legislatures,  it  is
also necessary to show any  transgression  by  each  entity.  Therefore,  to
borrow the words of Lord Steyn, judicial review is justified by  combination
of “the principles of separation of powers, rule of law,  the  principle  of
constitutionality and the reach of judicial review”.

(iv) If the federal structure is violated by  any  legislative  action,  the
Constitution takes care to protect the federal structure  by  ensuring  that
the Courts act  as  guardians  and  interpreters  of  the  Constitution  and
provide remedy under Articles 32 and 226, whenever  there  is  an  attempted
violation. In the circumstances, any direction by the Supreme Court  or  the
High Court in exercise of power under  Article  32  or  226  to  uphold  the
Constitution and maintain the rule of law cannot be termed as violating  the
federal structure.

(v) Restriction on Parliament by the Constitution  and  restriction  on  the
executive by Parliament under an enactment, do not amount to restriction  on
the power of the Judiciary under Articles 32 and 226 of the Constitution.”

      And eventually, the Court answered the reference thus:-
“In the final analysis, our answer  to  the  question  referred  is  that  a
direction by the High Court, in exercise of its jurisdiction  under  Article
226 of the Constitution, to CBI to investigate a cognizable offence  alleged
to have been committed within the territory of a State without  the  consent
of that State will  neither  impinge  upon  the  federal  structure  of  the
Constitution nor violate the doctrine of separation of power  and  shall  be
valid in law. Being the protectors of civil liberties of the citizens,  this
Court and the High Courts have not only the power and jurisdiction but  also
an obligation to protect the fundamental rights, guaranteed by Part  III  in
general and under Article 21 of the Constitution  in  particular,  zealously
and vigilantly.”


58.   The aforesaid decision compels us  to  repel  the  submission  of  Mr.
Naphade on this score  which  is  to  the  effect  that  when  no  power  is
conferred under the 1950 Act, the Court cannot exercise the  power  or  when
the power is curtailed, the Court cannot issue directions.  The  controversy
in the Constitution Bench pertained  to  direction  by  the  High  Court  to
transfer the investigation to the CBI in respect of the  crime  that  occurs
within the territory of the State and this Court held that  the  High  Court
has the authority to so direct despite  the  prohibition  contained  in  the
Special Police Act.  Therefore, the non-conferment of power under  the  1950
Act would not prohibit the High  Court,  in  exercise  of  its  power  under
Article 226 to transfer a case from one jail to  another  inside  the  State
depending upon the circumstances.
59.   The question that arises in the case at hand pertains to  exercise  of
jurisdiction under Articles 32, 142 and 144  of  the  Constitution.   It  is
submitted by Mr. Naphade that an order under Article 142  cannot  be  passed
in violation of the rights under Part III of the Constitution  nor  such  an
order can be inconsistent with the substantive provisions  of  the  relevant
statute. He has drawn our attention to the Constitution  Bench  decision  in
Prem Chand Garg & another v.  Excise  Commr.[38]   In  the  said  case,  the
majority ruled that:-
“12. ….. The powers of this Court are  no  doubt  very  wide  and  they  are
intended to be and will always be exercised in the interest of justice.  But
that is not to say that an  order  can  be  made  by  this  Court  which  is
inconsistent with the fundamental rights  guaranteed  by  Part  III  of  the
Constitution. An order which this Court can make in  order  to  do  complete
justice  between  the  parties,  must  not  only  be  consistent  with   the
fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution, but  it  cannot  even  be
inconsistent with the  substantive  provisions  of  the  relevant  statutory
laws. Therefore, we do not think it would be possible to hold  that  Article
142(1) confers upon this Court powers which can  contravene  the  provisions
of Article 32.”

60.   Placing reliance on A.R. Antulay v.  R.S.  Nayak  &  another[39],  Mr.
Naphade would urge that the court  cannot  pass  an  order  in  exercise  of
jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution  which  will  affect  the
fundamental right of a person.  In Antulay’s case, the five-Judge  Bench  in
R.S. Nayak v. A.R. Antulay[40], had transferred the case from Special  Court
under the Prevention of Corruption  Act  to  the  High  Court  in  order  to
expedite the trial.  In doing so, as felt by the later judgment rendered  by
seven Judges, the Court had ignored the mandatory provision of Section  7(2)
of the Criminal Law Amendment  Act,  1952  and,  therefore,  two  rights  of
Antulay were violated, one, the accused could only be  tried  by  a  Special
Judge and secondly, he had a right of statutory appeal to  the  High  Court.
The Court ruled that there was breach of fundamental rights  under  Articles
14 and 21  of  the  Constitution.  While  elucidating  the  principle  under
Article 142, Sabyasachi Mukharji, J. (as His Lordship then was) ruled:-
“The fact that the rule  was  discretionary  did  not  alter  the  position.
Though Article 142(1) empowers the Supreme Court to pass  any  order  to  do
complete justice between  the  parties,  the  court  cannot  make  an  order
inconsistent with the fundamental rights  guaranteed  by  Part  III  of  the
Constitution. No  question  of  inconsistency  between  Article  142(1)  and
Article 32 arose. Gajendragadkar, J.,  speaking  for  the  majority  of  the
judges of this Court said that Article 142(1) did not confer  any  power  on
this Court to contravene the provisions of Article 32 of  the  Constitution.
Nor did Article 145 confer power upon this Court to make  rules,  empowering
it to contravene the provisions of the fundamental right.  At  page  899  of
the Reports, Gajendragadkar, J., reiterated that the powers  of  this  Court
are no doubt very wide and they are intended and “will always  be  exercised
in the interests of justice”. But that is not to say that an  order  can  be
made by this  Court  which  is  inconsistent  with  the  fundamental  rights
guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution. It was emphasised that an  order
which this Court could make in order to  do  complete  justice  between  the
parties, must not only be consistent with the fundamental rights  guaranteed
by  the  Constitution,  but  it  cannot  even  be  inconsistent   with   the
substantive provisions of the relevant statutory laws  (emphasis  supplied).
The court therefore, held that it was not  possible  to  hold  that  Article
142(1)  conferred  upon  this  Court  powers  which  could  contravene   the
provisions of Article 32.”

61.   Relying on the aforesaid dictum, it is canvassed by Mr.  Naphade  that
when the transfer of an accused from one State to another is  not  envisaged
under the 1950 Act, and the concept of fair trial commands that  an  accused
has to be tried fairly and should not be removed to a  distant  place  where
he would feel isolated and cut-off from his relations and  familiar  milieu,
for it would tantamount  to  violation  of  the  right  as  enshrined  under
Article 21 of the Constitution.  He would further contend that  power  under
Article 142 cannot be exercised that would create a dent in the  fundamental
right or would be inconsistent with the statutory provisions.  Controverting
the aforesaid submission,  Mr.  Bhushan,  learned  senior  counsel  for  the
petitioners has drawn our attention to  a  Constitution  Bench  judgment  in
Union Carbide Corporation (supra). In paragraph 83, M.N. Venkatachaliah,  J,
(as His Lordship then was) speaking for the majority, opined thus:-
“It is necessary to set at rest  certain  misconceptions  in  the  arguments
touching the scope of the powers of this Court under Article 142(1)  of  the
Constitution. These issues are matters of  serious  public  importance.  The
proposition that a  provision  in  any  ordinary  law  irrespective  of  the
importance of the public policy on which it is founded,  operates  to  limit
the powers of the apex Court under Article 142(1) is unsound and  erroneous.
In both Garg as well as Antulay cases the point  was  one  of  violation  of
constitutional provisions and constitutional rights. The observations as  to
the  effect  of  inconsistency  with  statutory   provisions   were   really
unnecessary in those cases as the decisions in the ultimate analysis  turned
on the breach of constitutional rights. We agree with Shri Nariman that  the
power of the Court  under  Article  142  insofar  as  quashing  of  criminal
proceedings are concerned is not exhausted by Section  320  or  321  or  482
CrPC or all of them put together. The power  under  Article  142  is  at  an
entirely different  level  and  of  a  different  quality.  Prohibitions  or
limitations or provisions contained in ordinary  laws  cannot,  ipso  facto,
act as prohibitions  or  limitations  on  the  constitutional  powers  under
Article 142. Such prohibitions or limitations in the statutes  might  embody
and reflect the scheme of a particular law, taking into account  the  nature
and status of the authority or the court on which  conferment  of  powers  —
limited in some appropriate way — is contemplated. The limitations  may  not
necessarily reflect or be based on any fundamental considerations of  public
policy. Sri Sorabjee, learned Attorney  General,  referring  to  Garg  case,
said  that  limitation  on  the  powers  under  Article  142  arising   from
“inconsistency with express statutory provisions of  substantive  law”  must
really mean and be understood as some express prohibition contained  in  any
substantive  statutory  law.   He   suggested   that   if   the   expression
‘prohibition’ is read in place of ‘provision’ that would perhaps convey  the
appropriate idea. But we think that such prohibition should  also  be  shown
to be based on some underlying fundamental  and  general  issues  of  public
policy and not  merely  incidental  to  a  particular  statutory  scheme  or
pattern. It will again be wholly incorrect to say that powers under  Article
142 are subject to such express statutory prohibitions.  That  would  convey
the idea that statutory  provisions  override  a  constitutional  provision.
Perhaps, the proper way of expressing the idea is that in exercising  powers
under Article 142 and in assessing the needs  of  “complete  justice”  of  a
cause or matter, the apex Court will take note of the  express  prohibitions
in any substantive statutory provision based on some fundamental  principles
of public policy and regulate the  exercise  of  its  power  and  discretion
accordingly. The proposition does not relate to  the  powers  of  the  Court
under Article 142, but only to what is or is not  ‘complete  justice’  of  a
cause or matter and in  the  ultimate  analysis  of  the  propriety  of  the
exercise of the power. No question of lack of  jurisdiction  or  of  nullity
can arise”.                       [Emphasis supplied]
62.   It is urged by Mr. Naphade that the said judgment is per  incuriam  as
it runs counter to what has been stated in Antulay (supra).  Suffice  it  to
say, we are bound  by  the  view  expressed  in  Union  Carbide  Corporation
(supra) which has appreciated the ratio of Antulay’s case  in  a  particular
manner. That apart, we have no hesitation in  stating  that  what  has  been
stated in Union Carbide Corporation (supra)  by  Venkatachaliah,  J.  is  in
accord with the constitutional scheme of justice.
63.   Mr. Naphade, learned senior counsel has also drawn our attention to  a
Constitution Bench decision in Supreme Court Bar  Association  v.  Union  of
India and Anr.[41]. In the said case, the Court  dealing  with  the  plenary
power under Article 142 of the Constitution opined that the  plenary  powers
of this Court under Article 142 of the  Constitution  are  inherent  in  the
Court  and  are  complementary  to  those  powers  which  are   specifically
conferred on the Court by various statutes though are not limited  by  those
statutes. These powers also exist independent of the statutes  with  a  view
to do complete justice between the parties. These powers are  of  very  wide
amplitude and are in the nature of supplementary powers. This  power  exists
as  a  separate  and  independent  basis  of  jurisdiction  apart  from  the
statutes. It stands upon the foundation and the basis for its  exercise  may
be put on a different and perhaps even wider footing, to  prevent  injustice
in the process  of  litigation  and  to  do  complete  justice  between  the
parties. This plenary jurisdiction is, thus, the residual  source  of  power
which this Court may  draw  upon  as  necessary  whenever  it  is  just  and
equitable to do so and in particular to ensure the  observance  of  the  due
process  of  law,  to  do  complete  justice  between  the  parties,   while
administering justice according to law. Thereafter, the Court held:-
“There is no doubt that it is an indispensable adjunct to all  other  powers
and is free from the restraint of jurisdiction and operates  as  a  valuable
weapon in the hands of the Court to prevent “clogging or obstruction of  the
stream of justice”. It, however, needs to  be  remembered  that  the  powers
conferred on the Court by Article 142 being curative  in  nature  cannot  be
construed as powers which authorise the  Court  to  ignore  the  substantive
rights of a litigant while dealing with a  cause  pending  before  it.  This
power cannot be used to “supplant” substantive law applicable  to  the  case
or cause under consideration of the Court. Article 142, even with the  width
of its amplitude, cannot be used to build a new edifice where  none  existed
earlier, by ignoring express statutory provisions  dealing  with  a  subject
and thereby  to  achieve  something  indirectly  which  cannot  be  achieved
directly….”

64.   The Court thereafter referred to the  authorities  in  Delhi  Judicial
Service Association v.  State  of  Gujarat  &  ors[42],  Re,  Vinay  Chandra
Mishra[43], Prem Chand Garg (supra), and Union Carbide Corporation  (supra),
specially para 83 of the last decision and proceeded to rule thus:-
“55. Thus, a careful reading of the judgments in  Union  Carbide  Corpn.  v.
Union of India; the Delhi Judicial Service  Assn.  case  (supra)  and  Mohd.
Anis case[44] relied upon in V.C. Mishra case (supra) show  that  the  Court
did not actually doubt the correctness of the  observations  in  Prem  Chand
Garg case (supra). As a  matter  of  fact,  it  was  observed  that  in  the
established facts of those cases, the observations in Prem Chand  Garg  case
had “no relevance”. This Court did not  say  in  any  of  those  cases  that
substantive statutory provisions dealing expressly with the subject  can  be
ignored by this Court while exercising powers under Article 142.

56. As a matter of fact, the observations on which emphasis has been  placed
by us from the Union Carbide case, A.R.  Antulay  case  and  Delhi  Judicial
Service Assn. case go to show that they do not strictly speaking  come  into
any conflict with the observations of the majority made in Prem  Chand  Garg
case. It is one  thing  to  say  that  “prohibitions  or  limitations  in  a
statute” cannot come in the way of exercise of  jurisdiction  under  Article
142 to do complete justice between the parties  in  the  pending  “cause  or
matter” arising out of that statute, but quite  a  different  thing  to  say
that while  exercising  jurisdiction  under  Article  142,  this  Court  can
altogether ignore the substantive provisions of a statute, dealing with  the
subject and pass orders concerning  an  issue  which  can  be  settled  only
through a mechanism prescribed in another statute. This Court  did  not  say
so in Union Carbide case (supra)  either expressly or by implication and  on
the contrary it has been held that the Apex Court  will  take  note  of  the
express provisions  of  any  substantive  statutory  law  and  regulate  the
exercise of its power and discretion accordingly. …”
                                                            [emphasis added]

65.   In this context, we  may  refer  with  profit  to  a  two-Judge  Bench
decision in Narendra Champaklal Trivedi v.  State  of  Gujarat[45].  In  the
said case, question arose with regard to  reduction  of  sentence  that  had
been imposed under Section 13(3) of the Prevention of Corruption Act,  1988.
The Court referred to the earlier decisions in Vishweshwaraiah Iron &  Steel
Ltd. v. Abdul  Gani  &  Ors[46],  Keshabhai  Malabhai  Vankar  v.  State  of
Gujarat[47], Laxmidas Morarji v. Behrose Darab Madan[48] and held thus:-

“… where the minimum sentence is provided, we think it would not be  at  all
appropriate to exercise jurisdiction under Article 142 of  the  Constitution
of India to reduce the sentence on the ground of  the  so-called  mitigating
factors as that  would  tantamount  to  supplanting  statutory  mandate  and
further it would amount to  ignoring  the  substantive  statutory  provision
that prescribes minimum sentence for a criminal act relating to  demand  and
acceptance of bribe. The amount may be small but to curb  and  repress  this
kind of proclivity the legislature has prescribed the minimum  sentence.  It
should be paramountly borne in mind that corruption at any  level  does  not
deserve either sympathy or leniency. In  fact,  reduction  of  the  sentence
would be adding a premium. The law does not so countenance and, rightly  so,
because corruption corrodes the spine  of  a  nation  and  in  the  ultimate
eventuality makes the economy sterile.”

Thus, the Bench did not think it apt to  ignore  the  substantive  statutory
provisions.
66.   In this regard, we may also refer to the authority  in  Shamsu  Suhara
Beevi v. G. Alex and another[49].  In the said case, the Court  was  dealing
with a lis that pertained to an agreement of sale. There was no  prayer  for
amendment of the plaint to include the relief of compensation for breach  of
contract in addition to the  specific  performance  of  the  agreement.  The
relief was claimed under Section 28 of the Specific  Relief  Act,  1963  but
not under Section 21 of that Act.   The High Court came  to  the  conclusion
that Section 28 would not be  applicable  to  the  facts  of  the  case  but
granted relief under Section 21 of the  said  Act.   In  that  context,  the
Court ruled that the High Court would not have  granted  compensation  under
Section 21 in addition to the relief of specific performance in the  absence
of a prayer made to that effect either in the plaint or  amending  the  same
at any later stage of the proceedings to include the relief of  compensation
in addition to the relief of specific performance; that   grant  of  such  a
relief in the teeth of express  provisions of the statute  to  the  contrary
is not permissible; that  on equitable considerations  court  cannot  ignore
or overlook the provisions of the statute, and that  equity  must  yield  to
law.
67.   In the context of the aforesaid authorities,  the  submission  of  Mr.
Naphade is to be appreciated.  It is canvassed by him that Section 3 of  the
1950 Act permits transfer of a prisoner  outside  the  State  under  certain
circumstances and, therefore, no other circumstance can be visualized  while
exercising power under Article 142 of  the  Constitution  as  that  will  be
running counter to the substantive provisions of the  statute.   He  further
submits that this Court cannot legislate under Article 142 and  equity  must
yield to the provisions of law.
68.   There can be no doubt that equity cannot override law. As far  as  the
first aspect is concerned, we need not  advert  to  the  broad  platform  on
which Mr. Naphade has based his contention. Suffice it to note that  Section
3 of the 1950 Act bestows power on  the  State  Government  to  transfer  an
accused to another State after consulting the other State.  Such  an  action
by the State has to be totally controlled by the  circumstances  which  find
mention  under  Section  3.   When  the  State  passes  an  order  with  the
concurrence  of  another  State,  it  is  obliged  to  be   bound   by   the
circumstances which are postulated under Section 3(1) of the 1950  Act,  but
when the issue of  fair  trial  emerges  before  the  constitutional  court,
Section 3 of the 1950 Act cannot be regarded so as  to  restrain  the  court
from what is  mandated  and  required  for  a  free  and  fair  trial.   The
statutory power is not such which is negative  and  curtails  power  of  the
court to act in the interest of justice, and ensure  free  and  fair  trial,
which is of paramount importance for the Rule of Law. It only  controls  the
power of the executive. Therefore, we are unable to  accept  the  submission
of Mr. Naphade in this regard.
69.   Presently, we shall advert to the facts which we have  stated  in  the
beginning.   The third respondent has already been declared  as  a  history-
sheeter type ‘A’, that is, who is beyond reform. Till  today,  he  has  been
booked in 75 cases, out of which he had  been  convicted  in  10  cases  and
presently facing trial in 45 cases. There is no dispute  that  he  has  been
acquitted in 20 cases.  Out of 45 cases, 21 cases are  those  where  maximum
sentence is 7 years or more. He has been booked in 15  cases  where  he  has
been in custody and one such case relates to the murder of the third son  of
the petitioner and other two cases are  of  attempt  to  murder.  He  is  an
influential person of the locality, for he has been a representative to  the
Legislative Assembly on two occasions and elected as a Member of  Parliament
four times.  This is not a normal and usual case. It has to  be  dealt  with
in the aforesaid factual matrix. A history-sheeter has criminal  antecedents
and sometimes becomes a terror in society. In Neeru Yadav v. State  of  U.P.
and Anr.[50], this Court,  while  cancelling  bail  granted  to  a  history-
sheeter, was compelled to observe:-
“16. ….A democratic body  polity  which  is  wedded  to  the  rule  of  law,
anxiously guards liberty. But, a pregnant and significant one,  the  liberty
of an individual is not absolute. Society by its collective  wisdom  through
process of law can withdraw  the  liberty  that  it  has  sanctioned  to  an
individual when an individual becomes a danger to the collective and to  the
societal order. Accent on individual liberty cannot  be  pyramided  to  that
extent which would bring chaos and anarchy to a society. A  society  expects
responsibility and accountability from its members, and it desires that  the
citizens should obey the law, respecting it as a cherished social  norm.  No
individual can make an attempt to create a concavity in the stem  of  social
stream. It is impermissible. Therefore, when  an  individual  behaves  in  a
disharmonious  manner  ushering  in  disorderly  things  which  the  society
disapproves, the legal consequences are bound to follow. At that stage,  the
court has a duty. It cannot abandon its sacrosanct obligation  and  pass  an
order at its own whim or caprice. It has to be  guided  by  the  established
parameters of law.”

      We have referred to the  aforesaid  authority  to  highlight  how  the
Court has taken into consideration the paramountcy of peaceful social  order
while cancelling the order of bail, for the order granting bail  was  passed
without proper consideration of criminal antecedents of  the  accused  whose
acts created a concavity in the social stream.
70.   Mr. Bhushan, learned senior counsel heavily relied  on  the  authority
in  Kalyan  Chandra  Sarkar  v.  Rajesh  Ranjan  alias   Pappu   Yadav   and
another[51]. It is urged by him that factual matrix in  the  said  case  and
the present case is identical.  In the said case,  the  Court  noticed  that
the respondent therein, Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu  Yadav  while  he  was  in
judicial custody, was  found  addressing  an  election  meeting.  The  Court
called for a  report  from  the  authorities  concerned  requiring  them  to
explain on what authority the said  respondent  was  allowed  to  address  a
public meeting. The report filed by the CBI revealed  that  the  respondent,
in collusion with the police authorities accompanying him to Madhepura,  had
addressed a public meeting and the  escort  accompanying  him  took  him  to
various places which the respondent wanted to visit beyond the scope of  the
production warrant. It had come to the knowledge of the  Court  that  though
his bail had been cancelled, the accused was never taken into jail  and,  in
fact, when he was arrested after the cancellation of bail, he was  taken  to
Patna and an urgent Medical Board  was  constituted  to  examine  him  which
opined that the accused required medical treatment at Patna Medical  College
and permitted him to stay in the said Medical College. Taking various  other
facts  into  consideration,  the  Court  opined  that  the  respondent   had
absolutely no respect for the Rule of Law nor was he, in any manner,  afraid
of the consequences of his unlawful acts.  It was  also  observed  that,  it
was evident from the fact that some of the illegal acts  of  the  respondent
were committed even when his application for  grant  of  bail  was  pending.
When the issue of transfer from Beur Jail,  Patna  to  a  jail  outside  the
State arose, a contention was advanced that it would affect his  fundamental
right as has  been  enunciated  in  Sunil  Batra  (II)  (supra).  The  Court
referred to Section 3 of the 1950 Act and in that context,  opined  that  in
an appropriate case,  such  request  can  also  be  made  by  an  undertrial
prisoner or a detenu  and  there  being  no  statutory  provisions  contrary
thereto, this Court in exercise of its jurisdiction  under  Article  142  of
the Constitution may issue necessary direction.
71.   The two-Judge Bench referred to the authorities in Supreme  Court  Bar
Association (supra) and Union Carbide Corporation (supra) and ruled thus:-
“29. Despite some criticisms in some quarters as regards the correctness  of
the decision in Union Carbide (supra) we may notice that in  Mohd.  Anis  v.
Union of India (supra) it was held that  the  power  of  the  Supreme  Court
under Article 142(1) cannot be diluted by Section 6  of  the  Delhi  Special
Police Establishment Act, 1946.”


72.   The Court, thereafter,   referred  to  the  authorities  in  State  of
Karnataka v. State of A.P. & Ors[52], State of W.B. & Ors v.  Sampat  Lal  &
Ors[53] Ashok Kumar Gupta  &  another  v.  State  of  U.P.  &  Ors[54]   and
eventually opined:-
“43. It is true that in a normal trial the Criminal Procedure Code  requires
the accused to be present at the trial but in the peculiar circumstances  of
this case a procedure will have to be evolved, which will  not  be  contrary
to the rights given to an accused under the Criminal Procedure Code  but  at
the same time protect the administration of justice. Therefore, as  held  by
this Court in the case of State of Maharashtra v. Dr.  Praful  B.  Desai[55]
and Sakshi v. Union of India[56] we think the above requirement of the  Code
could be met by directing the trial by video-conferencing facility.  In  our
opinion, this is one of those rare cases wherein a frequent visit  from  the
place of detention to the court  of  trial  in  Bihar  would  prejudice  the
security of both the respondent and others involved in the case, apart  from
being a heavy burden on the State exchequer. It is in  this  background  CBI
has submitted that the  prisons  at  Chennai,  Palayamkottai  Central  Jail,
Vellore Central Jail, Coimbatore Central Jail all  in  the  State  of  Tamil
Nadu and  Mysore  Central  Jail  in  the  State  of  Karnataka  have  video-
conferencing facilities. Therefore the respondent can be transferred to  any
one of those jails.

44. While it is true that it is necessary in  the  interest  of  justice  to
transfer the respondent out of the State of Bihar, we are required  to  keep
in mind certain basic rights available to the respondent  which  should  not
be denied by transferring the respondent to any one of the  jails  suggested
by CBI. It will cause  some  hardship  to  the  wife  and  children  of  the
respondent who we are told are normally residents of Delhi, his  wife  being
a Member of Parliament and two young children  going  to  school  in  Delhi.
Taking into consideration the overall fact situation of the case,  we  think
it appropriate that the respondent be transferred to  Tihar  Jail  at  Delhi
and we direct the seniormost officer in charge of Tihar Jail  to  make  such
arrangements as he thinks are necessary to prevent the reoccurrence  of  the
activities of the respondent of  the  nature  referred  to  hereinabove  and
shall allow no special privileges to him unless he is entitled to  the  same
in law. His conduct during his custody  in  Tihar  Jail  will  specially  be
monitored  and  if  necessary  be  reported  to  this  Court.  However,  the
respondent shall be entitled to the benefit of the visit of  his  family  as
provided for under the Jail Manual of Tihar. He shall also  be  entitled  to
such categorisation and such facilities available to him in law.

45. We also direct that the trial  of  the  case  in  Patna  shall  continue
without the  presence  of  the  appellant  by  the  court,  dispensing  such
presence, and to the extent possible shall be  conducted  with  the  aid  of
video-conferencing. However, in the  event  of  the  respondent  making  any
application for his transfer for the sole purpose of  being  present  during
the recording of the statement of  any  particular  witness,  same  will  be
considered by the learned Sessions Judge on its merit and if  he  thinks  it
appropriate, he may direct the authorities of  Tihar  Jail  to  produce  the
accused before him for that limited purpose. This, however,  will  be  in  a
rare and important situation only and if such transfer  order  is  made  the
respondent shall be taken from Tihar Jail to  the  court  concerned  and  if
need be, detained in appropriate jail at the place of trial  and  under  the
custody and charge of the police to be specially deputed by the  authorities
of Tihar Jail who shall bear in mind the  factual  situation  in  which  the
respondent has been transferred from Patna to Delhi.”

      The aforesaid authority stands in  close  proximity  to  the  case  at
hand.  The present case, in fact, frescoes a different picture and  projects
a sad scenario compelling us to take  immediate  steps,  while  safeguarding
the principle of fair trial for both the sides.
73.   It is fruitful to note that in Dr. Praful B. Desai   (supra)   it  has
been clearly held that recording of evidence by way  of  video  conferencing
is valid in law.
74.   In view of the aforesaid  analysis,  we  record  our  conclusions  and
directions in seriatim:-
    The right to fair trial is not singularly  absolute,  as  is  perceived,
from the perspective of the accused. It takes in its  ambit  and  sweep  the
right of the victim(s)  and  the  society  at  large.  These  factors  would
collectively allude and constitute the Rule of  Law,  i.e.,  free  and  fair
trial.
     The fair trial which is constitutionally  protected  as  a  substantial
right under Article 21 and also the statutory protection,  does  invite  for
consideration a sense of conflict with the interest of the victim(s) or  the
collective/interest of the society.  When  there  is  an  intra-conflict  in
respect of the same fundamental right from the true perceptions, it  is  the
obligation of the constitutional courts to  weigh  the  balance  in  certain
circumstances, the interest of  the  society  as  a  whole,  when  it  would
promote and instill Rule of Law.  A fair  trial  is  not  what  the  accused
wants in the name of fair  trial.   Fair  trial  must  soothe  the  ultimate
justice which is sought individually,  but  is  subservient  and  would  not
prevail when fair trial requires transfer of the criminal proceedings.
A wrongful act of an individual cannot derogate the right of fair  trial  as
that interest is closer, especially in criminal trials, to the Rule of  Law.
 An accused cannot be permitted to jettison the basic fundamentals of  trial
in the name of fair trial.
The weighing of balance between the two perspectives in case of  fair  trial
would depend upon the facts  and  circumstances  weighed  on  the  scale  of
constitutional norms and sensibility and larger public interest.
    Section 3 of the 1950 Act does not create an impediment on the part  the
court to pass an order of transfer of an accused or a convict from one  jail
in a State to another prison in another State because it creates  a  bar  on
the exercise of power on the executive only.
The Court in exercise of power under Article 142 of the Constitution  cannot
curtail  the  fundamental  rights  of  the  citizens  conferred  under   the
Constitution and pass orders in violation of  substantive  provisions  which
are based on fundamental policy principles, yet when a case of  the  present
nature arises, it may issue appropriate directions so  that  criminal  trial
is conducted in accordance with law. It is the obligation and duty  of  this
Court to ensure free and fair trial.
The submission that this Court in  exercise  of  equity  jurisdiction  under
Article 142 of the Constitution cannot transfer the accused from Siwan  Jail
to any other jail in another State is unacceptable as the basic  premise  of
the said argument is erroneous, for  while  addressing  the  issue  of  fair
trial, the Court is not exercising any kind of jurisdiction in equity.
75.   In view of the aforesaid conclusions, we direct the State of Bihar  to
transfer the third respondent, M. Shahabuddin,  from  Siwan  Jail,  District
Siwan to Tihar Jail, Delhi and hand  over  the  prisoner  to  the  competent
officer of Tihar Jail after giving prior  intimation  for  his  transfer  in
Delhi.   Needless  to  say,  that  the  authorities  escorting   the   third
respondent from Siwan Jail to Tihar Jail would  strictly  follow  the  rules
applicable to the transit  prisoners  and  no  special  privilege  shall  be
extended.  The transfer shall take place within a  week  hence.  Thereafter,
the trial  in  respect  of  pending  trials  shall  be  conducted  by  video
conferencing by the concerned trial court. The competent authority in  Tihar
Jail and the competent authority of  the  State  of  Bihar  shall  make  all
essential arrangements so that  the  accused  and  the  witnesses  would  be
available for the purpose of trial through video conferencing.   A  copy  of
this  order  shall  forthwith  be  communicated  to  the   Home   Secretary,
Government  of  Bihar,  Superintendent  of  Siwan  Jail  and  the  Inspector
General, Prisons, Tihar Jail, Delhi. All concerned are directed  to  act  in
aid of the  aforesaid  order  as  contemplated  under  Article  144  of  the
Constitution.

76.   We have noted that the  High  Court  of  Patna  has  granted  stay  in
certain proceedings.  The High Court is requested to  dispose  of  the  said
matters on their merits within four months hence. A copy of  this  order  be
sent to the Registrar General, High Court of  Patna  for  placing  the  same
before the learned Acting Chief Justice.

77.   In view of the aforesaid analysis, Writ Petition  (Criminal)  No.  147
of 2016 stands disposed of.  Similarly, Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 132  of
2016 also stands disposed of except for  the  prayer  seeking  direction  to
register FIR against Shri Tej Pratap Yadav,  Health  Minster  of  Bihar  and
S.P., Police of Siwan District, for which the matter be listed  for  further
hearing at 2.00 p.m. on 21st of April 2017.



                                  ........................................J.
                               [DIPAK MISRA]


                                  ........................................J.
                                          [AMITAVA ROY]
NEW DELHI
FEBRUARY 15, 2017
-----------------------
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[49]   (2004) 8 SCC 569
[50]   (2014) 16 SCC 508
[51]   (2005) 3 SCC 284
[52]   (2000) 9 SCC 572
[53]   (1985) 1 SCC 317
[54]   (1997) 5 SCC 201
[55]   (2003) 4 SCC 601
[56]   (2004) 5 SCC 518

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