The Kerala High Court has said in a judgement that an eligible accused person cannot be denied default bail by imposing stringent conditions that are impossible for the accused to comply with.
The Kerala High Court delivered this judgement in the matter of Vishnu Sajanan v State of Kerala on November 29 but pronounced recently.
The Court emphasized that imposing arbitrary and stringent conditions while granting default bail under Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) violates the fundamental right of the accused to life and liberty as guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Justice PV Kunhikrishnan clarified that when imposing conditions for releasing an accused on default bail, the Court’s role is limited to ensuring that the accused will appear for trial and cooperate with the investigation.
“The default bail is a statutory right of an accused. The Court cannot deny statutory bail to an accused by imposing stringent conditions that cannot be complied with by the accused. An accused in detention shall be released on bail after the period of detention mentioned in Section 167(2) if he is prepared to furnish bail. This statutory right cannot be circumvented by imposing onerous conditions,” the Court’s order stated.
The High Court addressed this issue in response to a petition filed by a man who was the first accused in a drug possession case.
The prosecution alleged the recovery of MDMA from a place where the petitioner and others were staying.
The petitioner, arrested on the spot, was presented before the jurisdictional Magistrate and remanded to judicial custody after two unsuccessful bail applications before the Sessions Court.