The Kerala High Court has decided that bail granted to an accused cannot be withdrawn due to violation of bail conditions unless notice is issued and the accused is given an opportunity to be heard. Justice Kauser Edappagath ruled that bail revocation decisions given without hearing the accused are unconstitutional.
The Court emphasised that bail cancellation is intimately related to personal liberty, which is one of the fundamental basic freedoms protected under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. As a result, the Court stated that “the bail once granted cannot be revoked mechanically without evaluating the accused’s post-bail conduct and if any supervening circumstances have been rendered.”
The Court went on to say that giving notice to the aggrieved party so that they might state their case against the intended action is a fundamental principle of natural justice. The Court was deliberating on a petition challenging an order issued by a fast-track special court terminating an accused person’s bail without hearing him. The petitioner was charged with sexual harassment under Sections 354A(I)(i) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 9 and 10 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. The petitioner was arrested in June and granted bail by the special court in July of this year. In addition, the special court imposed specific bail terms.
Following that, the prosecution filed an application to cancel his bail on the grounds that he had breached the terms that he not see or communicate with the victim-child in any way and not enter the area where the victim-child lived. The court below immediately granted the motion, annulled the bail, and issued a non-bailable warrant without giving the petitioner notice or an opportunity to challenge the application.
This prompted the petitioner to file an application with the High Court. As a result, the special court’s order was reversed, and the petitioner was given an opportunity to make an objection and be heard before the application for bail cancellation was reconsidered.