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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday cancelled the bail granted to a Madhya Pradesh BSP MLA’s husband in the murder case of Congress leader Devendra Chourasia and observed that judiciary should be immune from political pressures and considerations otherwise politicians will operate with impunity.

Taking strong note of grant of relief to the spouse of the lawmaker by the Madhya Pradesh High Court, the apex court said the high court “mis-applied itself” to the legal principles which must govern such a case and “the serious error by the High Court in its impugned order can be considered from two perspectives.”

“India cannot have two parallel legal systems, ‘one for the rich and the resourceful and those who wield political power and influence and the other for the small men without resources and capabilities to obtain justice or fight injustice,” observed a bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud.

“Unfortunately, the High Court failed in its duty to ensure that the sanctity of the criminal justice process is preserved. This court has had to step in to ensure that the rule of law is preserved,” the bench, also comprising Justice Hrishikesh Roy said.

The high court had dismissed the pleas of the state government seeking cancellation of bail and the relief of suspension of sentence granted to Govind Singh, husband of BSP MLA Rambai Singh, in an over two-year-old murder case of the Congress leader Devendra Chourasia despite the fact that as many as 28 criminal cases were pending against him.

Reversing the high court’s order, the apex court said the bail granted to Govind Singh shall stand cancelled and also directed that he be moved under the directions of the DGP to another jail in the state to ensure that the fair course of the criminal proceedings is not deflected.

Justice Chandrachud, writing the judgement, referred to the criminal history of the accused and urged the high court to launch an enquiry into the apprehension of threat raised by the trial judge in the case.

“There is no gainsaying that the judiciary should be immune from political pressures and considerations. A judiciary that is susceptible to such pressures allows politicians to operate with impunity and incentivizes criminality to flourish in the political apparatus of the State,” the verdict said.

The apprehensions expressed by the Additional Sessions Judge should be duly enquired into by the High Court on its administrative side so that if they are found to be true, necessary action should be taken in order to secure the fair administration of justice, the 33-page judgement said.

The enquiry should be concluded expeditiously and preferably within a period of one month from the date of the receipt of a certified copy of this judgment, it said.

Highlighting the need to protect lower judiciary from pressures, it said “An independent and impartial judiciary is the cornerstone of democracy. Judicial independence of the district judiciary is cardinal to the integrity of the entire system.”

The courts comprised in the district judiciary are the first point of interface with citizens and if the faith of the citizen in the administration of justice has to be preserved, it is to the district judiciary that attention must be focused as well as the ‘higher’ judiciary, it said.

The High Court was apprised of the fact that an FIR was lodged against the accused and it gave a period of 90 days to police to enquire into his complaint that he was being targeted.

“This order had the effect of obstructing a fair investigation into the FIR at the behest of the accused despite the nature and gravity of the allegations against him. The events which have transpired since go to emphasize the fact that the High Court was in grievous error in passing its directions which were misused to defeat the investigation,” it said.

The police submitted a closure report absolving the accused and there was material on the record indicates that an effort has been made to shield the accused from the administration of criminal justice, it said.

Chaurasia was killed in March 2019 after he joined the Congress.

The police had then registered a murder case against Singh and others.M