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Conditions That Can Be Imposed While Granting Bail

Chapter-XXXIII of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as Cr.P.C.) deals with provisions related to bail & bond. As per the given provisions offences are classified either in bailable or in non-bailable category.

In case of bailable offence, bail is a matter of right on the part of accused, while in case of non-bailable offence, bail is a matter of discretion to be exercised by Court. As per Section 437(3) of Cr.P.C. the court while granting bail may impose such conditions as prescribed and in furtherance may also impose any such condition as it considers necessary in the interest of justice.

It is evident that Hon'ble Court is having discretion to impose any such conditions as it considers necessary in the interest of justice, but it must be kept in mind that such discretion cannot be exercised in an arbitrary manner overlooking the settled principle of law.

In the case of Ayub v. State of M.P.[i] wherein lower Court granted bail to accused by imposing a condition to deposit Rs. 2,50,000/- which was the alleged amount of misappropriation was held to be an arbitrary condition by Hon'ble Apex Court as it vitiates the very nature of trial and the conditional order granting bail by the lower Court was modified accordingly. 

In the case of Sumit Mehta v. State of N.C.T. of Delhi [ii]where High Court granted bail to accused on a condition to deposit Rs. 10,000,000/- as a fix deposit in the name of complainant in any nationalized bank was held onerous and unreasonable by Hon'ble Supreme Court as it was feeble condition having no nexus with the objective of granting bail. It was held that judicial discretion of imposing condition while granting bail must be exercised in such a manner that it does not hinders the trial pending before competent Court.

Recently Hon'ble Jharkhand High Court in the matter of Som Marandi v. State of Jharkhand [iii] granted bail to the applicant on condition that he shall deposit Rs. 35,000/- in PM Cares fund and also download Aarogya Setu App with immediate effect. Further almost similar condition was imposed by Hon'ble Bombay High Court while granting bail to applicant, accused of manhandling Bombay Municipal Corporation worker as to deposit Rs. 25,000/- in CM Relief Fund. Hon'ble Delhi High Court in the matter of Dheeraj Malhotra v. State[iv] while granting bail imposed a condition that applicant shall make video call every Friday to Investigating Officer and shall also 'drop a pin' on Google Map so that Investigating Officer can verify applicant location.

Hon'ble Madhya Pradesh High Court in the matter of Arvind Patel v. State of M.P[v] imposed a condition on accused to install LED at District Hospital worth atleast Rs. 25,000/- manufactured in India or abroad except China, further in another matter of Vikram v. State of M.P[vi] where accused was charged under section 452, 354(A), 354, 323 and 506 of IPC, Hon'ble Court while granting bail imposed condition on accused to tie Rakhi thread  to the complainant and shall also tender Rs. 11,000/- to her and Rs. 5,000/- to her child as a part of ritual gift.

Furthermore in the case of Harendra Tyagi v. State of M.P.[vii]  Hon'ble Court imposed a condition on accused to remove himself from all WhatsApp and Facebook groups and to not use any Social Media platform for 2 months as a part of digital detoxification. Further also in the case of Ritik Mongya vs. State of M.P.,[viii] Hon'ble Court imposed a condition on accused to register himself as COVID-19 Warrior and to do all the needful work as assigned by District Magistrate with prescribed precautions to serve the society in this pandemic.

In Munish Bhasinv State (Government of NCT of Delhi),[ix]  it was categorically held by Hon'ble Supreme Court that while granting bail competent Court cannot impose any freakish conditions. In Sanjay Chandra v. Central Bureau of Investigation, [x] it was held that objective of imposing condition is to secure attendance of accused during pendency of trail and is neither punitive nor preventive.

Even the principle of Presumption of innocence says that accused is innocent until proven guilty, but such conditional order directing accused to deposit particular sum of money being part of alleged amount of misappropriation done by accused hinders the independence of trial as after going through such bail order it is obvious that trial Court shall make unwarranted presumption against the accused in respect of his innocence. It is responsibility of the Court while granting bail to ensure that no such condition is imposed on accused which frustrates the principle of Presumption of innocence in favour of accused.

Imposing such odd condition never serves the objective to secure accused from fleeing but only produce an impression on trial Court and public at large that alleged offence was definitely committed by the accused and as he is guilty for the same therefore he is accepting the odd condition imposed by the Court. Irrespective of whether the accused has committed the alleged offence or not, such odd conditions never serves the interest of Justice on the part of accused and society at large as Court granting bail has nothing to do with whether accused has committed alleged offence or not, as it is the duty of Trial Court to decide the same after going through all the relevant documents and examining deposition of every witnesses. Such conditional order may be termed as pre mature conclusion of trial because after such order trial court will most probably end up with declaring accused as convicted of alleged offence irrespective of what volumes of record speaks.

Court must remember that conditions are generally imposed to make sure that applicant after getting bail do not scot away or do not threatens nor offer any inducement to the complainant or complainant witnesses, therefore it is duty of the competent Court while imposing condition to provide proper reasoning as to how such condition is justified and necessary in the interest of justice, but it is evident from the face of record that no such reasoning is  provided by competent Court while imposing condition, further how such unreasoned order serve the purpose of granting bail remains unanswered for perpetuity.

On the other hand Hon'ble Kerala High Court in the matter of Chinna Rao Swayamvarappu vs. State of Kerala[xi] quashed the condition imposed by Session Court on accused/applicant to deposit Rs. 25,000/- towards Corona Relief Fund and produce receipt before the said Court. Reason being in the case of Moto Ram v. State of Madhya Pradesh[xii] it was specifically laid down by Hon'ble Supreme Court that condition to deposit particular amount of money for grant of bail in unjust, irregular and improper.

In the matter of Jitendra Oraon v. State of Jharkhand[xiii] order passed by Judicial Commissioner imposing condition on accused to deposit Rs. 60,000/- in favor of the Excise Department as a condition for grant of bail was challenged before Hon'ble Jharkhand High Court wherein Hon'ble Court quashing the said condition held that while granting bail fine cannot be imposed, as fine is a type of punishment under Section 53 of Indian Penal Code and punishment can only be imposed after conclusion of trial that too after conviction of accused.

Hon'ble Madhya Pradesh High Court in the matter of Fahad Ahmed and Others v. State of Madhya Pradesh[xiv] quashed the condition of depositing Rs. 25,000/- in P.M. Care Fund imposed by Session Court and held that such conditions runs contrary to the law laid down by Hon'ble Supreme Court in its catena of judgments. Hon'ble Madras High Court's conditional order imposing condition on accused charged for trying to burn Indian National Flag to perform community service 3 hours daily for a week at orphanage named by concerned Magistrate was challenged before Hon'ble Supreme Court and Hon'ble Court held that such condition was totally irrelevant in the given facts and circumstances of case and thereby quashed the said condition.[xv]

In the case of Joginder Kumar v. State of U.P.[xvi] it was held by Hon'ble Apex Court that power to arrest a person is not required to be exercised in every case i.e. arrest is an exception and bail is rule but just granting of bail is not sufficient to satisfy this judicial principle, it must be kept in mind that while granting bail such conditions must not be imposed which are very difficult to be complied with, thereby resulting indirect rejection of bail.  Law in respect of imposition of condition for granting bail is crystal clear, as condition not having an iota of nexus with the very objective of granting bail cannot be imposed and brought within the preview of lawful condition imposed while exercising Judicial discretion.

Also such conditions many times tantamount to refusal of bail as the appellant is unable to fulfil the same which violates the essence of law as laid down in the case of Sandeep Jain v. N.C.T. Delhi [xvii].

It is evident from the aforesaid discussion that various High Court are having contradictory views in respect of condition to be imposed while granting bail and ironically both Hon'ble Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh High Court are having divergent views on the same point as one bench of the Court imposes irrelevant condition and another bench quashes the same type of condition in different matter.

To secure the attendance of accused at the time of investigation and trial, surety or bond are sufficient means but without prejudice to the said submission if competent Court deems fit in the interest of justice it can impose any other condition on the accused but it is essential for the competent court to justify the same by providing adequate reason in its order which unfortunately is not being done by competent court. Therefore aforesaid extraordinary bail conditions compel one to think about the status of mind of the judges while imposing them.

The Hon'ble Apex Court has not laid down any strait jacket formula or an exhaustive list of conditions which can be imposed by competent Court while granting bail and has left this discretion to be exercised by competent court itself but in given circumstances it seems that such discretion is not being exercised by competent Court judiciously acknowledging interest of justice. It is a settled position of law that while imposing conditions for granting bail, the Court must keep in mind that such conditions shall not be unreasonable but it seems that in present era Courts have turned Nelson's eye to the above stated position of law and are imposing conditions which are based on their whims and fancies.

Today courts are imposing conditions which are having no plausible link with the objective of granting bail and such lacuna must be removed at earliest otherwise we would face a situation amounting to degradation of existing law regarding bail. Therefore it is high time where Hon'ble Apex Court must interfere and shall end up this controversy by laying down law what conditions can and cannot be imposed while granting bail to the accused. 

End-Notes:
  1. (2004) 13 SCC 457
  2. (2013)15SCC570
  3. Cr.R. No. 1659/2018
  4. BAIL APPL. 772/2020
  5. MCRC 19127/2020
  6. MCRC 23350/2020
  7. MCRC 23542/2020
  8. MCRC 28888/2020
  9. 2009) 4 SCC 45
  10. (2012) 1 SCC 40
  11. Crl.M.C. No.TMP. 5 of 2020
  12. AIR 1978 SC 1594
  13. Cr. M.P. No. 342 of 2020
  14. MCRC-13259-2020
  15. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Supreme-Court-quashes-irrelevant-bail-condition/article16892330.ec
  16. (1994) 4 SCC 260
  17. (2000) 2 SCC 66

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