The Kerala High Court has held that a Court cannot insist that a surety for bail should be from a particular area alone.

The Bench of Justice PV Kunhikrishnan has modified an order of the Special Judge for NDPS Act cases requiring that one of the sureties for grant of bail should be from the District where the crime was registered. The accused in the case belongs to West Bengal, who challenged the said bail condition.

"India is a country consisting of several States with different languages. But, from our childhood, it is a pledge we have all taken to the effect that we are all brothers and sisters. There is no Keralite alone or Bengali alone or Kannadiga alone or Tamilian alone. All are brothers and sisters", the Court observed while holding that the surety may be from any state in India.

Advocates P. Sreekumar and Helen PA appeared for the applicant in the bail application while Public Prosecutor MP Prasanth appeared for the State.

The Bench quoted the National Pledge in the order and observed that if a Keralite became an accused in West Bengal, he would find it extremely difficult to get a surety at West Bengal as he is not a resident of that State. He can produce a surety from his native place where his kith and kin are residing. Similar is the case if a native of West Bengal becomes accused of an offence in Kerala, the Court observed in the order.

"All are citizens of this country. The sureties are executing the bond to produce the accused as and when required. It cannot be insisted that the sureties residing within the jurisdiction of the Court should execute a bond in all situations. That will be an easy method, but it is unmindful of the fact that we are all Indians", the Court held.

The Court said in the order that apprehension of the Trial Court may be that if the sureties produced by the petitioner are from other States, it is difficult to issue notice to them and get the presence of the accused if the accused absconds. "The same can be avoided by getting the details, including the address, phone number and the local police station where he is residing. Hence, I am of the considered opinion that the insistence to produce the surety for release of the petitioner, who belonged to West Bengal, from Idukki district itself cannot be justified", the Court added.

Accordingly, the Court modified the bail condition.

Cause Title: Abedur Shekh v. State of Kerala (Neutral Citation: 2023:KER:82032)

Click here to read/download Order