Committing Similar Or Other Crime Constitutes 'Supervening Circumstance' For Bail Cancellation: Kerala HC Reaffirms
The Kerala High Court while dealing with a petition filed by the complainant/ petitioner for the purpose of canceling the bail of the accused reiterated that committing a similar or other crime again is in violation of the condition imposed by the Court in its Bail Order and the same amounts to a 'supervening circumstance' for bail cancellation.
The Bench of Justice A. Badharudeen held –
"… it has to be held that the accused herein has no respect to the Court order and he has been repeatedly disturbing the defacto complainant in violation of the condition imposed by this Court. Therefore, these are supervening circumstances which would tempt this Court to exercise the power of cancellation of bail. Therefore, I am inclined to cancel the bail to the accused."
The Single Judge Bench noted that "Since the law is settled as discussed above, it has to be held that, if the accused misuses his liberty by indulging in similar/other criminal activity violating condition/conditions imposed in the bail order, the same is a supervening circumstances to cancel the bail."
Advocate Thomas J Anakkallunkal appeared for the complainant while Advocate P.A. Mujeeb represented the respondent.
The respondent i.e., the accused was involved in two other crimes after releasing him on bail violating the condition of the bail order. The accused committed crimes under Sections 354, 354(A)(1)(i), and 354D of the Indian Penal Code. On January 21, 2022, he entered into the car of the complainant and attempted to disrobe her with the intention to outrage her modesty. After the release of the accused on bail by the Court on June 26, 2022, he again started harassing the complainant through Instagram by sending obscene messages and also threatened her by contacting her through various accounts. On July 29, 2022, when the complainant was returning from her work, he followed her and tried to attack her.
The complainant filed a complaint regarding such an incident before the Kalamassery Police Station and based on the said complaint, Crime No. 741/2022 was registered. One of the conditions of the bail order that the accused violated was - "it is specifically directed that the petitioner shall not disturb the defacto complainant in any manner and any such occurrence, if reported or came to the notice of this Court, the same shall be a reason to cancel the bail to the petitioner."
The question before the High Court was whether the respondent/ accused had violated the bail conditions so as to cancel his bail. The Court herein relied upon the case of P. v. State of Madhya Pradesh and Another AIR (2022) SC 2183 and observed–
"When the three Bench decision of the Apex Court in P. v. State of Madhya Pradesh's case (Supra) held that misuse of liberty by the accused by indulging in similar/other criminal activity is a reason for cancellation of bail, the said ratio shall be the binding precedent."
The Court also noted that "this Court would be loath to interfere with an order passed by the Court below granting bail but if such an order is found to be illegal or perverse or premised on material that is irrelevant, then such an order is susceptible to scrutiny and interference."
The Court further ordered –
"Accordingly, the bail granted to the second respondent as per order in B.A.No.3513 of 2022 dated 13.05.2022 stands cancelled with direction to him to surrender before the Court. On failure to do so, the Police is at liberty to arrest him and proceed in accordance with law."
Cause Title – Sreeja Mannangath v. State of Kerala & Anr.