While exercising power under Section 438 of the Code, the Court is duty bound to strike a balance between the individual’s right to personal freedom and the right of investigation of the police. For the same, while granting relief under Section 438(1), appropriate conditions can be imposed under Section 438(2) so as to ensure an uninterrupted investigation. The object of putting such conditions should be to avoid the possibility of the person hampering the investigation. Thus, any condition, which has no reference to the fairness or propriety of the investigation or trial, cannot be countenanced as permissible under the law. So, the discretion of the Court while imposing conditions must be exercised with utmost restraint.1
Thus, in the case on hand, fixed deposit of Rs. 1,00,00,000/- for a period of six months in the name of the complainant and to keep the FDR with the investigating officer as a condition precedent for grant of anticipatory bail is evidently onerous and unreasonable. It must be remembered that the Court has not even come to the conclusion whether the allegations made are true or not which can only be ascertained after completion of trial. Certainly, in no words are we suggesting that the power to impose a condition of this nature is totally excluded, even in cases of cheating, electricity pilferage, white-collar crimes or chit fund scams etc.
16) The words “any condition” used in the provision should not be regarded as conferring absolute power on a Court of law to impose any condition that it chooses to impose. Any condition has to be interpreted as a reasonable condition acceptable in the facts permissible in the circumstance and effective in the pragmatic sense and should not defeat the order of grant of bail. We are of the view that the present facts and circumstances of the case do not warrant such extreme condition to be imposed.1
Supreme Court of India
Sumit Mehta vs State Of N.C.T. Of Delhi on 13 September, 2013