CRL.MC NO. 2807 OF 2022
Godson Vs. State of Kerala & Ors.
Date of Order:
Justice Ziyad Rahman A. A
Godson – Petitioner
State of Kerala & Ors. – Respondent
The Kerala High Court ruled that in accordance with Article 21 of the Constitution, a bail cannot be revoked on the grounds of non-compliance to a bail condition as it harms the personal liberty of the bailee.
- The current petitioners are accused of offenses under sections 341, 308, and 324, read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), through an FIR registered in Kalady Police Station.
- They were arrested with respect to the present case on 9/2/2018 and the 2nd Additional Sessions Court, Ernakulam, granted them bail under numerous conditions one of them specifying that they should not be involved in a crime of similar nature, for which they were in custody for, for the duration, they are on bail.
- In Crl.M.P.Nos. 249/2022 submitted by the Public Prosecutor, requesting the cancellation of bail citing that both the petitioners have been actively involved in the crime registered in Kuruppampady Police Station, under sections 143, 147, 308, 324, 506(ii), and 294(b) which are read with section 149 of the Indian Penal Code.
- The Request for cancellation was granted by the Sessions Judge after hearing both sides in the order dated 24/02/2022. That very order has been challenged in the current petition.
Arguments Advanced by Petitioners
- The petitioners' learned attorney claims that the decision to revoke the bail already granted in 2018 because a crime was registered in 2021 is unjustified. It is noted that the petitioners were granted bail in the subsequent offence as well and are abiding by the bail requirements therein. Since the final report has already been submitted, the case in which the contested order was issued is still pending trial.
- It is also argued that failure to provide compelling evidence supporting the petitioners' subsequent involvement in the crimes does not automatically result in the termination of the bail that has already been granted to them.
Arguments Advanced by Respondent
- The above submissions were passionately opposed by the Public Prosecutor.
- It is noted that the Kerala Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act's provisions were used to detain the petitioner in Crl.M.C.No.2807/2022 in accordance with the District Collector's decision. The aforementioned petitioner is a habitual offender, according to the learned Public Prosecutor, hence there is no need to interfere with the order made by the learned Sessions Judge.
- The aforementioned provision expressly specifies the requirement not to participate in comparable offences during the bail period. This would demonstrate the significance of the requirement and the need to insist on its compliance given that it is expressly listed in the statute. However, the issue at hand is whether failing to comply with the aforementioned requirement should always result in the termination of bail.
- In my opinion, the simple fact that a condition of this kind was placed when the accused was granted release would not automatically result in the cancellation of bail. This is especially true because, absent compelling evidence to support or justification such an order, the bail already granted cannot be revoked because doing so would violate the right to personal liberty provided by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
- The simple fact that a condition of this kind was placed when the accused was granted release would not automatically result in the cancellation of bail. This is especially true because, absent compelling evidence to support or justify such an order, the bail already granted cannot be revoked because doing so would violate the right to personal liberty provided by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
- The aforementioned provision expressly mentions the requirement not to participate in comparable offenses during the bail period. This would demonstrate the significance of the requirement and the need to insist on its compliance given that it is expressly listed in the statute. However, the current issue is whether failing to comply with the aforementioned requirement should always result in the termination of bail.
- The court held that it must determine whether the claimed breach amounts to an attempt to obstruct the administration of justice or if it affects the trial of the case in which the accused is implicated when deciding whether to grant a request to rescind bail based on failure to abide by the conditions.
- In XI, Victim SC No. 211 of 2018 of POCSO Court v. State of Kerala and Others [2019(3) KHC 26], this very Court established the guidelines for the type of inquiry that must be made by the relevant court when taking into account a request to revoke bail.
- It was further noted by the court that the petitioners were granted bail in both the cases and their extended custody was not required by the court for the conduction of the trial. And it was also already observed by the lower court that the two crimes committed did not have any relation between them and were entirely independent of each other.
- In the case of Dataram Singh, it was unequivocally stated that once bail has been granted, it cannot be revoked without first assessing whether any newly discovered facts make the accused's continued freedom while on bail during the trial incompatible with a fair trial.
- There are many statutory provisions available for the prosecuting agency to start the proper procedures for placing the accused in preventive custody if they are worried about the accused committing repeated offences.
- Preventive detention regulations cannot be replaced by the provisions found in Sections 437(5) and 439(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Some of the factors that may be taken into account when answering the aforementioned question: are the time interval between the crimes, the potential for false accusations in the subsequent case, the bail granted to the accused in the subsequent crime, the stage of the prosecution of the case at which cancellation of bail is requested, the likelihood of affecting or interfering with the fair trial of the case, etc. In some situations, the commission of horrific crimes repeatedly in a way that strikes dread into the hearts of the witnesses and prevents them from testifying against the accused may also be important because it impacts the way a fair trial is conducted.
But in the present case, it was finally ruled that the subsequent crime does not influence the ongoing trial in any way thus the plea was allowed and the orders canceling their bail were quashed.
Learn the practical aspects of CrPC HERE, CPC HERE, IPC HERE, Evidence Act HERE, Family Laws HERE, DV Act HERE
Click here to download the original copy of the judgement