The Supreme Court observed that unreasonably high surety amounts defeats the very purpose of granting bail and infringes the fundamental right to life and personal liberty of the accused.

The petition was filed challenging the order passed by the Allahabad High Court dismissing the plea for a reduction in the amount of surety. Previously, the Magistrate had directed the petitioner to furnish a personal bond of Rs 10 lakhs with two sureties in the like amount. The court reduced the quantum of surety from Rupees Ten Lakhs to Rupees Twenty-Five Thousand in a case of cheating and forgery by an office clerk.

The Bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice J.B. Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra observed, “The purpose of directing an accused who has been released on bail to furnish surety is to ensure that the accused is present to answer further proceedings including at the trial. Determining the amount of surety at an unreasonably high amount effectively defeats the very purpose of the grant of bail and infringes the right to life and personal liberty of the accused protected by Article 21 of the Constitution.”

Senior Advocate Siddhartha Dave appeared for the Petitioner.

The Petitioner in the present case is a retired office clerk who continued to languish in jail for inability to furnish a surety of Rs. 10 Lacs Court, hence, the Court observed, “Since the order of the High Court directing the trial Judge to fix a “heavy surety” is not in appeal before this Court, we are not expressing any opinion on the correctness of that direction. Be that as it may, the order of the High Court had to be construed reasonably by the trial Judge. The quantum of surety which has been fixed by the trial court effectively defeats the right to seek bail.”

The High Court in its order had said that, “In the opinion of the Court, going through the fact of the case, the amount cannot be said to be excessive otherwise also, this court does not find its power to interfere with the discretion of the trial court…The present application under Section 482 Cr. P.C. is devoid of merit and is hereby dismissed.”

Accordingly, the Court reduced the quantum of surety and disposed of the Petition.

Cause Title: Ashok Sandeep Singh v. The State of Uttar Pradesh


Petitioner: Senior Advocate Siddhartha Dave, Advocates Prastut Dalvi and Pallavi Sharma

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