The Kerala High Court has held that mere registration of subsequent crime against the accused by itself cannot result in automatic cancellation of bail.

The petitioner in this matter was accused in connection to the offences punishable under Sections 341, 323, 324, 325, 394, and 201 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

A Single Bench of Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas observed, “The mere registration of a subsequent crime against the accused by itself cannot result in an automatic cancellation of bail. Registration of a subsequent crime is only an indication of an allegation or a complaint of the accused having been involved in a subsequent crime. The presumption of innocence available to the accused in the second crime, the right to liberty as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India which envelopes every provision of the Code of Criminal Procedure are factors which cannot be forgotten by the Court when called upon to cancel the bail.”

The Bench said that the possibility of false accusations being alleged with oblique motives cannot be ignored.

Advocates Rajit and Ramakrishnan M.N. appeared for the petitioner/accused while Public Prosecutor Sreeja V. appeared for the respondent/State.

In this case, the accused had attacked the complainant in front of a temple, caused grievous hurt, and stole her mobile phone. After he was taken into custody, bail was granted to him but thereafter he was arrayed as an accused under Sections 294(b), 323, 308, 354, and 354A of the IPC.

The accused was alleged to have displayed his nudity before a lady, brandished a chopper to commit culpable homicide, and shouted obscene words on a public road but he was granted bail in this matter as well. In the meantime, a petition was filed to cancel the bail granted to him in the first crime due to his involvement in the second crime which violated the conditions of the bail as a result of which the Magistrate cancelled his bail.

The High Court after hearing the contentions of both parties said, “Bail once granted ought not to be cancelled for the mere asking. There must be cogent and overwhelming circumstances existing to cancel the bail which should not be resorted to in a mechanical manner also. In a recent decision in P v. Madhya Pradesh and Another (2022 SCC OnLine SC 552) the Supreme Court considered the circumstances when bail could be cancelled. One of the conditions for cancelling the bail has been succinctly stated to be that if he misuses his liberty by indulging in similar or other criminal activity.”

The Court noted that the nature of the subsequent offence and the persons against whom the offence is alleged to have been committed, and the stage of the case wherein cancellation is sought are also factors that require appreciation.

“… while arriving at the conclusion to cancel the bail, the Court must also consider whether the accused had misused the liberty granted in such a manner that it has a tendency to interfere with the due course of the administration of justice”, the Court noted further.

The Court observed that the accused remained in jail for the last more than two months and though the allegation as regards the subsequent crime is serious, the second crime cannot be treated as overwhelming enough to impede fair trial in the first crime for cancelling the bail already granted.

“… the final report in the crime in which bail was sought to be cancelled was filed much earlier and there is no allegation that the petitioner had misused his liberty against the defacto complainant therein”, said the Court.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the plea of the accused and set aside the order of the Magistrate.

Cause Title- Renjith v. State of Kerala

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