The Kerala High Court has recalled its order granting anticipatory bail to the accused in a batch of cases where allegations have surfaced that the Lawyer for the accused was paid fifty lakh rupees to bribe the Judge of the High Court.

The Bench of Justice Ziyad Rahman A.A. had granted anticipatory bail to Byju Sebastian and Jijo Varghese George in April 2022. Advocate Saiby Jose Kidangoor had appeared for the petitioners in the case. The petitioners were accused of committing offences under Sections 294(b), 506, 354A and 34 of the IPC read with Sections 3(1)(r) and 3(1)(s) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 in four separate cases.

The Court had recorded in its order granting anticipatory bail that, "Even though, the notice of the bail application has been served on the 3rd respondent/defacto complainant, there is no appearance for her".

Recently, news surfaced that the Registry had received a complaint about Advocate Saiby Jose Kidangoor taking huge amounts of money from clients claiming to be bribe required to be paid to the Judges of the High Court. One of the there judges, in whose name the Lawyer has supposedly collected money, had complained to the Court, pursuant to which an inquiry was conducted.

Advocate Saiby Jose Kidangoor is currently the President of the Kerala High Court Advocates' Association.

Now the Bench of Justice Rahman has recalled its earlier order after the complainant in the case approached the Court claiming that he did not receive any notice from the Court, contrary to what is recorded in the order.

"As rightly pointed out by the learned counsel, even though a notice was directed to be served to the 3rd respondent through the Station House Officer, apparently the same is not served upon him. It is evident that, the said order was pronounced on 19.04.2022 and the same was communicated to the Public Prosecutor on 21.04.2022 and immediately on 26.04.2022 the matter was again taken up despite the fact that next posting date was shown as 20.05.2022. Later, the matter is seen disposed of on 29.04.2022. Therefore, it is evident that the disposal of the bail application was without notice to the 3rd respondent", the Court noted in its latest order.

Advocate Saiby Jose Kidangoor, who continued to appear for the accused, opposed the plea of the complainant. Advocate V. Sethunath appeared for the complainant in the new application.

The Court also noted in the order that as per Section 15A(3) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, a victim or his dependent shall have the right to notice of any court proceedings including any bail proceedings and that since offence under the statute is alleged against the accused, its order granting anticipatory bail is a nullity.

It is not clear from the order as to how the Court came to its earlier conclusion that notice had been served upon the complainant.

Cause Title- Babu T. v. Byju Sebastian & Ors.

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