Mere violation of bail condition not sufficient to cancel bail: Kerala High Court

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Mere violation or non-compliance with bail condition by an accused person will not be a ground to cancel bail, the Kerala High Court has held [Godson v. State of Kerala].

Single-judge Justice Ziyad Rahman AA said that when considering an application to cancel the bail due to non-compliance with bail conditions, the court has to consider whether the alleged violation amounts to an attempt to interfere with the administration of justice or whether it affects the trial of the case.

Merely because there was a condition to not involve in similar offenses during the bail period but the accused involved in such offence, would not result in the cancellation of bail automatically, the Court underlined.

“In my view, merely because of the reason that such a condition was imposed while granting bail to the accused, that would not result in the cancellation of bail automatically. This is particularly because, since the order of cancellation of bail is something that affects the personal liberty of a person, which is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, unless there are reasons justifying or warranting such an order, the bail already granted cannot be cancelled,” the Court held.

It was further held that though courts are empowered by Sections 437(5) and 439(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to direct the arrest of the petitioners already released on bail, these stipulations cannot be substituted for preventive detention laws.

The Court has to conduct a summary enquiry after examining the records and arrive at satisfaction as to whether cancellation of the bail of the accused is necessary.

“The stipulations contained in Section 437(5) and 439(2) of Cr.PC cannot be treated as a substitute for preventive detention laws. The court has to conduct a summary enquiry after perusing the records and arrive at a satisfaction as to whether it is necessary to cancel the bail of the accused,” the judgment said.

The Court was considering petitions by accused persons to quash the order passed by the Session Court that revoked the bail granted to them.

The petitioner are accused of offences under Section 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons) and 341 (wrongful restraint) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The Sessions Court had revoked the bail granted to the accused after the public prosecutor had submitted that they were involved in a similar crime after they were released on bail and, thus, violated the bail conditions.

Before the High Court, it was contended by the petitioners that they were falsely implicated in the subsequent crime and the subsequent case was not one that caused any interference in the trial of the earlier case.

It was also submitted that the alleged victim in the subsequent crime was not a witness in the first crime.

The senior public prosecutor, appearing for the respondents, argued that one of the petitioner is a habitual offender and therefore, no interference is warranted in the order passed by the Sessions Judge.

The Court relied on the Supreme Court judgment in Dataram Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh in which it was held that bail once granted, cannot be cancelled without considering whether any supervening circumstances have rendered it no longer conducive to a fair trial to allow the accused to remain free on bail during trial.

The Court held that the fact that the petitioners were involved in similar crimes alone cannot be a reason to cancel the bail unless it is shown that the involvement of the petitioners in the subsequent crime was affecting the trial of the earlier case.

It, therefore, allowed the plea and set aside the order of the Sessions Court.

Advocate MH Hantis appeared for the petitioners. Sr. Public Prosecutors MP Prasanth and CS Hrithwik appeared for the respondents.

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