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Key Takeaways

  • Vinod Kumar and Manikantan were convicted for their roles in the Kalluvathukkal Hooch Tragedy of 2000, which claimed over 30 lives.
  • The Court denied the convicts' appeals in 2011. Their wives asked the Supreme Court to let them out before July. The Supreme Court was to hear this Bail Petition on September 22, 2021.
  • The Court notified the State on July 9. The State later informed the Court that a State Advisory Committee had recommended their early release. So, on September 6, the Court ordered the government to act expeditiously. On September 22, 2021, the State requested more time.
  • The Bench stated that the State Government could not make a final decision on the proposal within two weeks of September 6, 2021. As a result, the Court granted Vinod Kumar and Manikantan bail while the writ petition was pending.

Background of the case

  • The case title is Aswathy Vinod & anr. Vs. The State of Kerela & ors. (WP (Cr) 270/2021).
  • Convicts Vinod Kumar and Manikantan were serving time for their roles in the Kalluvathukkal Hooch Tragedy, which claimed the lives of over 30 people in the year 2000.
  • The charges against the convicts were that they mixed a poisonous substance called methyl alcohol with ethyl alcohol, then added toddy and other essences to make a drink called Kalapani. This was sold through their outlets, and people died as a result of consuming bogus liquor.
  • The Court rejected the appeals filed by the convicts in this case in 2011. Their wives petitioned the Supreme Court two months ago to have them released earlier than scheduled in July this year.
  • This Bail Petition was scheduled for hearing before the Supreme Court on September 22, 2021.

The State Advisory Committee

  • On July 9, the Court served notice on the State. Later, the State told the Court that a State Advisory Committee had been formed and recommended their early release.
  • Thus, on September 6, the Court ordered the government to make an expeditious decision in the case. The State requested more time in the matter when it was heard on September 22, 2021.
  • The Supreme Court Bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, and Justice CT Ravikumar heard the petition.

Observation of the Court

  • The convicts have been in custody for over 28 years, according to the Court. Furthermore, the Bench stated that no satisfactory explanation had been provided for why the State Government could not finalise the proposal within two weeks of September 6, 2021.
  • As a result, the Court ordered the petitioners' husbands Vinod Kumar and Manikantan, to be released on bail while the writ petition was pending.
  • The Court ordered that the convicts be released on bail as soon as possible, subject to any conditions imposed by the Trial Court, and no later than 48 hours after the order was issued.
  • The writ petition was rescheduled for another hearing after six weeks, awaiting the State Government's decision.

Questions

  • Can you name any Landmark Judgment pronounced by Justice AM Khanwilkar?
  • Which chapter of the Code of Criminal Procedure deals with the procedures as to Bail and Bonds?
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