Once a court grants bail to someone, it can take it back under certain
circumstances. This can happen in two ways: the court can decide to do it on its
own (Suo moto) or if the police, complainant, or another affected person
requests it. However, the courts are very cautious when canceling bail, as it
directly affects a person's freedom. Typically, they don't cancel bail unless
they find compelling and strong reasons against the accused.
There's a legal provision, Section 439(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure,
1973 that addresses the cancellation of bail. It gives the High Court or Court
of Session the authority to arrest and detain a person who was released on bail
if there are valid reasons to do so. The power of the subordinate courts
including Magistrates to cancel a bail comes from section 437 (5) of the CrPC.
It's essential to note that bail can only be canceled based on reasons that
arise after it was initially granted. If certain facts were hidden during the
bail application or if the accused's involvement in other criminal cases becomes
apparent later, bail may be reconsidered. Additionally, if the accused tries to
influence witnesses or obstruct justice in any way, it could lead to the
cancellation of bail.
Grounds for Cancellation of Bail
Here are some situations that can lead to the cancellation of bail:
- Violation of Bail Conditions: If the person granted bail fails to comply with the conditions set by the court, such as reporting to the police, attending court hearings, or staying away from certain individuals or places.
- Change in Circumstances: Bail can be canceled if there is a change in circumstances that justifies it. This could include the accused's behavior, new evidence, or other factors that were not considered when bail was granted.
- New Offence: If the accused is arrested for committing a new offence while on bail for a previous one, this can be ground for bail cancellation.
- Public Safety Concerns: If the accused poses a significant risk to public safety or is a threat to the community, the court may cancel bail to protect society.
- Non-Appearance in Court: If the accused repeatedly fails to appear in court when required, the court may cancel bail due to his non-appearance.
- Sound Judicial Discretion: Courts have the authority to cancel bail if it is deemed necessary in the interests of justice. This discretion should be exercised judiciously and not arbitrarily.
- Interference with Justice: If the accused tries to obstruct the legal process or interferes with how justice is served.
- Avoiding Justice: When the accused attempts to escape or avoid facing the legal consequences of his actions.
- Abuse of Bail: If the person misuses the freedom granted to him by bail for unlawful activities.
- Flight Risk: If it becomes evident that the accused is planning to flee the jurisdiction to avoid prosecution, the court may cancel his bail.
- Misuse of Bail: If the individual uses his freedom on bail for unlawful activities, such as committing another crime or engaging in activities that undermine the legal process.
- Interference with Witnesses: If there is evidence to suggest that the accused is attempting to intimidate or influence witnesses in the case, his bail can be canceled.
- Tampering with Evidence: If there is reason to believe that the accused is trying to destroy or manipulate evidence crucial to the case, this can lead to bail cancellation.
- Other Serious Circumstances: Any situation that makes it unfair to allow the accused to remain free on bail while awaiting trial.
There are established legal principles that empower courts to cancel bail, even
without the presence of new supervening circumstances.
Some key principles
- Relevant Material: When the court granting bail disregards pertinent evidence while considering irrelevant material of substantial importance and trivial details.
- Abuse of Authority: If the court granting bail fails to consider the accused's position in relation to the victim, especially if the accused holds a position of authority, such as a police officer, and there is prima facie evidence of misuse of power over the victim.
- Prior Criminal Record: When the court granting bail overlooks the accused's prior criminal history and behavior.
- Untenable Grounds: If bail has been granted on untenable or unsustainable grounds.
- Serious Infirmities: When the bail order is marred by serious flaws that result in a miscarriage of justice.
- Inappropriate Grant: When the initial grant of bail was inappropriate, considering the gravity of the charges against the accused, which may disqualify him from receiving bail.
- Whimsical or Capricious: If the bail order appears to be arbitrary, whimsical, or perverse given the specific facts of the case.
Distinction Between Grounds for Cancelling Bail and Rejecting Bail
The reasons for canceling bail and the grounds for rejecting bail are distinct
circumstances, each requiring a different approach from the court. When
considering a bail application, the court focuses on the potential breach of
bail conditions and must maintain an open and flexible stance. In contrast, when
assessing a cancellation application, the court adopts a more stringent
approach, examining not only the possibility of violations but also whether
actual violations have occurred. In this context, the court demands concrete
evidence of wrongdoing.
Triple Test Doctrine of Bail
We can also consider the import of "Triple Test Doctrine of Bail". According to
this doctrine, an accused person can be granted bail if it can be demonstrated
that he is not a flight risk, will not interfere with witnesses, and will not
tamper with evidence. These criteria help the court assess whether granting bail
is reasonable and justifiable in each case.
Court Judgments on Cancellation of Bail
Deepak Yadav v. State of Uttar Pradesh
, 2022 SCC On Line SC 672, decided on
20.05.2022 � Observation of Supreme Court
In a murder case where the Allahabad High Court granted bail to the main accused
only on the basis of parity, a three-judge bench of NV Ramana, Krishna Murari
and Hima Kohli, JJ canceled the bail after observing that the High Court should
have considered factors such as criminal background of the accused, nature of
the crime, material evidence available, involvement of the accused in the said
crime, recovery of weapon from his possession, etc.
Since the Supreme Court has
inherent power and discretion to cancel the bail of an accused even in the
absence of overriding circumstances, the Court laid down the following
illustrative circumstances under which bail can be cancelled:
- Where the court granting bail considers irrelevant material of trivial nature while ignoring relevant material on record.
- If the court granting bail overlooks the influential position of the accused compared to the victim of abuse or witnesses, especially if it is a prima facie abuse of position and power over the victim.
- Where the past conduct of the accused is completely ignored while granting bail.
- If bail was granted for unsustainable reasons.
- If serious irregularities are found in the bail order that would cause harm to justice.
- In the event that the granting of bail was not appropriate in the first place due to the very serious nature of the charges brought against the accused, which do not entitle him to bail and cannot therefore be justified.
- When the order granting bail is manifestly arbitrary, capricious and perverse on the facts of the case.
It further found that "certainly there is no straitjacket formula to enable
courts to assess an application to grant or deny bail, but determining whether a
case is bailable requires consideration of many factors, not the least of which
is the nature of the offence, the severity of the punishment and the prima facie
view of the involvement of the accused.
This court does not ordinarily interfere
with the order of the High Court granting or denying bail to the accused.
Equally, it is the duty of the Supreme Court to exercise its discretion
judiciously, prudently and strictly in accordance with the fundamental
principles laid down in the chain of judgments of this Court."
Cancellation of Bail:
The Sessions Court subsequently granted bail on irrelevant
consideration. - Judicial propriety requires that even a court which has
rejected an earlier plea for bail should not later grant such a prayer unless
there is a change in circumstances or a new ground available to the accused, as
that would also amount to an arbitrary exercise of judicial discretion. It is
beyond comprehension how a court subordinate to such a court can be allowed to
act arbitrarily. Ku. Anju Khartri v. Gyanchand, 1991 Cri LJ 2274 (MP)
Cancellation of bail application: Application by private person: Factors to
It is true that the state did not move to cancel the bail. Although
there was no absolute bar to an informant applying for bail to be revoked under
Section 439(2) of the CrPC, the considerations which a court weighs in
exercising its powers at the request of a private party are, in addition to the
factors necessary for the application by the State, to be other factors to be
considered are whether the bail order has resulted in a gross miscarriage of
justice, whether it is a gross abuse of law and whether there is any real threat
or risk to the informant or his party by reason of the accused being at large.
Prafulla Kumar Pradhan v. Pabaneswar Subudhi,
1989 Cri LJ 2016: (1989) 1 OLR
533: 1989 OCR 290
Cancellation of Bail: Rule of Law
In the present case the accused, on the
facts reported, violated the conditions imposed on him by the learned Assistant
Sessions Judge and threatened to remove the son of the deceased to ensure that
the best evidence was not made available to the prosecution. The bail granted
was cancelled. State v. Veerapandy
, 1979 Cri LJ 455 at pp. 457, 558
It has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused to whom bail was
granted, abused it by interfering with the administration of justice and fair
trial and made efforts to tamper with the prosecution witnesses which would be
sufficient grounds for cancellation of bail. Tahir v. Shaukat, 1986 Cri LJ 1815
at p 1817
The allegations made by the appellant which are supported by the affidavit show
that the appellants are abusing the liberty granted to them since they were
released on bail. The bail could therefore be revoked. Chuni Lal and others v.
State of Punjab, 1996 Cri LJ 4474 at p 4476 (P&H)
Bail Revocation Order: When Unjustifiable?
It must be recalled that the power
to remand an accused who has been granted bail must be exercised with caution
and prudence in relevant cases where it has become clear on a preponderance of
probabilities that the accused is interfering with the course of justice by
tampering with witnesses.
The petitioners never committed any such interference and that the prosecution
did not bring to the Court's attention any overriding circumstances. There was
no discussion in the impugned order of any overriding circumstances like abuse
of liberty, tampering with evidence, absconding etc.
In the circumstances, it
could not be said that the learned Judge acted in accordance with the directions
issued by their Lordships of the Supreme Court. The impugned order canceling
bail was therefore set aside and the petitioners were allowed to remain on bail
as granted by the learned Magistrate. Khagendra Reddy v. N. Vidyasagar Reddy,
1988 Cri LJ 2183 at pp. 2184, 2185
Bail that has been granted can be canceled under certain circumstances. The
cancellation of bail typically occurs when there are valid reasons to believe
that the accused is not complying with the conditions of bail or poses a risk to
the legal process. It's important to note that bail cancellation is a serious
matter, and it typically requires a formal process where the court reviews the
specific circumstances and evidence related to the case. Additionally, the
accused is usually given an opportunity to defend himself before bail is
canceled. The decision to cancel bail is made by the court, and it is not done
- Andhra Pradesh Police Academy, First Course in Investigation
- P. Venkatesh, Police Diaries, Statements, Reports and Investigations, Premier Publishing Company, Allahabad
- R. Deb, Principles of Criminology, Criminal Law and Investigation, S.C. Sarkar & Sons, Calcutta
Written By: Md. Imran Wahab
, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected]
, Ph no: 9836576565