Bail Conditions cannot be burdensome. Courts cannot insists on different sureties for different cases against same accused.

Question regarding different sureties for different cases against same accused came before Hon’ble Kerala High Court .

CRL.MC No. 10916 of 2023. D/d. 16.01.2024. Venugopal Versus State of Kerala

In this judgment, the court addresses the issue of imposing onerous and impractical conditions while granting bail, emphasizing that such conditions should not render the bail illusory or redundant. The petitioner, facing charges in 1726 crimes across different districts in Kerala, had been unable to secure bail due to the difficulty in meeting the varied surety requirements set by different courts. The court highlights that conditions for release on bail should be reasonable and not obstruct the accused’s right to liberty.

The court rejects the technical objection raised by the Public Prosecutor regarding the absence of specific orders refusing sureties, stating that the importance of the issue justifies consideration despite the objection. The judgment refers to relevant sections of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.) regarding the fixing of bond amounts and the nature of bail bonds.

It criticizes the practice of some courts insisting on separate sureties for each case, emphasizing that the purpose of sureties is to ensure the accused’s presence during trial, not to guarantee the monetary sum involved in the crime. The court contends that there is no legal basis for linking the quantum of the crime with surety bonds or limiting a surety to specific types of cases.

The court particularly addresses the impracticality of requiring separate sureties for each of the 1726 cases, deeming it practically impossible and rendering the concept of bail illusory. It emphasizes that the law does not prohibit the same surety being furnished in different cases, provided the surety inspires confidence in ensuring the accused’s presence during trial.

Additionally, the court rules that insisting on court fees for petitions filed by accused in custody contradicts the Kerala Court Fees and Suits Valuation Act, exempting such documents from fees. Therefore, the court directs that courts handling bail applications for the petitioner should not insist on separate sureties for each case and should not require court fees for petitions filed by accused in custody.