HC cancels erroneous bail of cop-murder accused
In an unprecedented case, Calcutta high court on Friday reviewed its order by cancelling the bail of an accused on the ground that there had been a "clerical error" in typing the order dated June 21 on the basis of which he was released.
Justices Ashim Kumar Roy and Toufique Uddin cancelled the bail granted to Panka (Prasenjit Dutta) and ordered his immediate arrest for sending him to jail in connection with the murder of constable Asim Dam.
The judges were of the view from the beginning of the controversy about Dutta's bail order that they had in fact rejected his bail plea on June 21.
"It's a victory of justice. Now we would be able to live peacefully. My cousin had been receiving threat calls on phone ever since Dutta had been released from jail," said Mamon Dhar, Dam's 19-year-old niece.
The judges had then directed the registrar administration to make an inquiry and submit a report as how the bail order on Dutta's petition was changed.
The judges were of the prima facie view that their order was changed and placed before them on June 21, which they signed in good faith believing that it was typed as dictated by them.
Accepting the inquiry report the judges said that it was clear from the noting in their daily cause list as well as the court officer's cause list that Dutta's bail petition was rejected. It was also found that even in their stenographer's recording book it was noted in short hand that Dutta's bail petition was rejected, the judges said.
Assisting the court, state public prosecutor Debasish Roy said Dutta's bail petition was rejected, but there appeared to be typographical mistake, which resulted in grant of bail.
Dutta's advocates had argued that since the order was signed by the judges they could not have cancelled it.
Rejecting this, the judges held that under Section 362 of CrPC the court had inherent power to review its order on the ground of clerical error, which includes typographical mistake made by the recording officer.
Local hooligans had murdered Dam at his residence near the airport after he resisted molestation of Mamon.
The airport police then started a murder case against 13 persons and arrested 10. The police also filed a chargesheet against 13 persons. Dutta then moved the high court for bail, which was listed on June 21, when it was rejected. But on June 29 Dutta was found roaming near Dam's house.
Suspecting foul play, Mamon informed her advocate, Tapan Tewari, who then mentioned it before the judges on July 2, when they ordered inquiry as to how Dutta was released even after rejection of his bail petition.