Punjab And Haryana High Court: Notice Issued On Petition Seeking SOP For Regulating Custody Period Of Persons With Multiple Cases


The Punjab And High Court in the case Bhupinder Kumar Gupta v. State of Punjab & Ors observed and has issued a notice to the government of Punjab and Haryana on a petition moved seeking formulation of Standard Operating Procedures, SOPs for regulating the total period of custody which is being undergone by a person who is detained in multiple cases. It has also been argued by the petitioner in the case that reading the custody period of all cases jointly would amount to violation of the right to speedy trial under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
The plea moved alleged that the petitioner is allegedly being involved in the 127 cases and out of which the petitioner is facing trial in 42 cases, he is convicted in 56 cases, and acquitted in 30 cases. Therefore, the petitioner who being in judicial custody for a period of 8 years and is being deprived of the fundamental right to a speedy trial.
The court in the case observed that the period of under-trial custody has to be counted from the day an accused is being produced before the court and the accused is liable to set-off against the conviction as per Section 428 of Code of Criminal Procedure. Further, the petitioner in the plea argued that if the period undergone by him is not set-off against the term of imprisonment on him he will remain in jail despite completion of his sentence.
It has also been highlighted in the said petition that in order to count the custody period of an accused, the high court’s 2016 decision in the case Tejinder Singh @Teja & Another v. State of Punjab and ors is being followed by State wherein the court held, when the person is under-trial detention in one case is being convicted and sentenced in another case, the detention of the petitioner in the first case ceases and the clock stops till such time as he is released in the second case and his period of under-trial detention in the first case would again start only after the petitioner is released in the second case.
It has also been argued in the plea that Tejinder Singh is per incuriam and against the judgement of Apex Court in the case State of Maharashtra v. Najakat Ali Mubarak Ali wherein the court held if the accused is simultaneously arrested and is being detained in two or more cases and on conviction obtains set-off for the period of the petitioner’s detention in the first case and he being not ineligible in order to obtain set-off for the period in the subsequent cases.
Further, the court in the case State of Maharashtra v. Najakat Ali Mubarak Ali held that in each and every case the court is to count the number of days the accused was separately in such detention and the liability in order to undergo the imprisonment on conviction should be restricted to the remainder of the terms of the imprisonment which is to be imposed on him in that case.
Therefore, the petition moved also seeks issuance of directions to the official respondents to produce the petitioner before the concerned magistrates and despite of the issuance of production warrants by the court, thus, the respondent in the case have been acting negligently, wherein it resulted in the trial being left in abeyance.