SC slams HC for granting bail to Kandhamal riots convicted MLA

Upholding the appeal filed by the widow of a deceased in the riots, a bench of justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar asked the High Court to reconsider its decision for granting bail to the Udayagiri constituency MLA Manoj Kumar Pradhan.

The apex court said even though two other accused had also applied for bail, the high court chose to grant relief only to the legislator and not to others despite the fact that he was involved in various other cases.

"There is no dispute that the respondent (MLA) herein is involved in more than one case of similar nature of rioting etc. This fact has not been taken into consideration at all by the High Court. The High Court did not even suspend the execution of the sentence awarded by the trial court but directed his release on bail.

"The High Court was obviously impressed by the singular fact that the respondent is a sitting MLA. The High Court did not record even a single reason confining the relief of releasing on bail only to the respondent, though there are two appellants in the appeal preferred challenging the judgment of the trial Court", the bench said in a judgement.

The trial court had earlier convicted and sentenced Pradhan to seven years RI  for his alleged involvement in the riots. While awarding the sentence, the trial court held the crime committed by the MLA cannot be viewed leniently as it was committed against the society at large.

Pradhan was granted bail by the Orissa High on July 7, 2010, on the very first day of the hearing, though two others in the case were denied the same. Aggrieved by the relief granted by the HC, Kanaka Rekha Naik, whose husband was one of the several persons killed in the 2008 communal riots filed an appeal in the apex court seeking cancellation of the bail.

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