Uttarakhand HC Passes Order to Furnish Bail Surety of ₹5,000 in Backdrop of Financial Constraints

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Introduction

The Hon’ble Supreme Court through Justice Krishna Iyer in G. Narasimulu’s case had observed that “bail is a rule and jail is an exception”. In this regard, an individual accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty and hence, constraints on his exercise of liberty to the extent of it being unreasonable are arbitrary. The constraints can be artificially imposed whilst the Accused is enlarged on bail by imposing conditions that are virtually incapable of performance by the Applicant. Therefore, the Supreme Court in the Moti Ram case, 1978 observed the necessity of social justice breaking the constraints imposed on an individual’s liberty. The present case is an example of effective implementation of the social justice standard stipulated by the Supreme Court in the aforementioned case.  

Brief Facts

The Petitioner, an Accused under Section 8, 20 of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1985 was under judicial custody. However, he was enlarged on bail by an Order dated 16.08.2018 by the Hon’ble High Court. He was unable to arrange securities to the extent that was prescribed by the High Court. Hence, he was still under judicial custody despite being enlarged on bail for want of surety. A Writ Petition was therefore filed.

Arguments

It was submitted for the Petitioner that the bail money imposed on the Petitioner is extraneous. Therefore, the Petitioner’s freedom was jeopardized whilst being enlarged on bail. On the contrary, the State submitted that the Petitioner would flea and not appear before the Court if released on bail. 

Court’s View

The Court observed that the Petitioner had made an application before the Court for a reduction of the number of sureties. However, the same was rejected on the ground that the Court did not have the power to review its Orders passed under Section 362 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. 

The Court then made observations regarding the nature of the issue involved. The Petitioner was not able to enforce his Right on being enlarged on bail because of the surety condition imposed on him. The Court found that the Petitioner was not in jail because he was convicted or that his bail was denied, but because he was not able to furnish the surety imposed as a condition for granting bail. 

The Court referenced the decision of the Supreme Court in Moti Ram and Others v. State of Madhya Pradesh (1978) where the Supreme Court made certain observations based on the American criminological thinking. It also made observations regarding the need for social justice to tender to the needs of the little men in the peril of losing his liberty. 

The Court in the present case observed that the Petitioner was in jail because of his financial background. 

Court’s Decision

The Court ordered that the Petitioner be enlarged on bail after furnishing a surety of ₹5,000.


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