Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Orissa High Court, under Article 227(1) of the Constitution of India, has “superintendence over all courts and tribunals throughout the territories interrelation to which it exercises jurisdiction” in the State. Therefore, it should suo moto review the bail granted to accused Krushnachandra Dasmohapatra by the SDJM, Puri that makes a farce of prosecution in a case of utmost public importance even before it commences.
The case is against a Daitapati Sevayat of Sri Jagannath who is alleged to have assaulted Italy-born Odissi dancer Ileana Citaristi, who has adopted OrIssa as her home, on the chariot of Sri Jagannatha, as she refused to pay him a sum of Rs. 1000.00 as Dakshina (money collected by way of extortion from devotees of a Deity by the Sevayats/priests). She was subjected to brutal attack even on her head, and in a bid to justify the attack, the said Sevayat had raised the bogy of desecration of the chariot by Ileana, who besides being a non-Hindu is of foreign origin. The shocked Ileana had moved the police.
Now nobody has any doubt that the case will end without any punishment to the miscreant; because the accused has been granted bail on the basis of a document depicting a compromise between the accused Sevayat/body of Daitapati Sevayats and Ileana Citaristi.
Even though the bail order delivered by the SDJM is interlocutory in nature, the case will assumably end in non-prosecution.
Bail is, as per practice in vogue, denied to an accused before submission of charge-sheet in a criminal case, and even beyond, when there is apprehension that the accused may put pressure on the complainant to withdraw the case or to come to a compromise in order to render the case inconsequential or to tamper with evidences or to try to derail prosecution. In this instant case, without submitting to police to cooperate with the investigation, the accused Sevayat had put pressure on Ileana to compromise the case and to derail prosecution by submitting the same while praying for bail.
Should this manipulation be encouraged? The High Court should oversee it; as otherwise, it would be easy for the accused Sevayat to force Ms. Ileana Citaristi to withdraw her case against him.
Once a case of crime is registered by the Police it becomes a case between the State and the accused. How can the complainant or the accused or the both put a stymie on prosecution behind back of the State? The learned SDJM has not thought of this before granting bail to the accused in taking into cognizance the compromise petition. The prosecution seems to have become a farce.