Imposing Unreasonable Bail Conditions is Unlawful

Unreasonable bail conditions

Absurd, burdensome or unreasonable bail conditions are being thrust upon the accused, while granting bail, by the courts based on whims and fancies of the judges rather than strict adherence to the law.

Imposition of onerous conditions for granting of bail is tantamount to denial of bail, says the Supreme Court ( SC) while setting aside the bail condition in a case in which the petitioner  was asked to provide cash security of Rs.20 lakh and to furnish security of immovable property for Rs.20 lakhs.

Cooperate with the measuring & barbing of land as a condition

The Supreme Court recently stayed an Allahabad High Court order which insisted Azzam Khan, a political leader, to fully cooperate with measuring and barbed wiring of a disputed land as a bail condition, which exceeded the set legal parameters for granting bail

Tying Rakhi as a bail condition

The Madhya Pradesh High Court in Vikram v State of Madya Pradesh imposed a bail condition that the accused, who molested the victim, to visit the victim and allow her to tie a Rakhi, a potentially traumatic experience to the victim, as a bail condition.

The SC in Aparna Bhat and others v State of Madhya Pradesh & others set aside a bail order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court which imposed Rakhi tying as a condition for getting bail.

Restriction in use of social media as a bail condition

An Allahabad High Court order in 2020 granted bail on an absurd condition that the accused should not use social media till the conclusion for his sedition trial, as per the news item linked below.

Madras High Court, in a judgement, imposed a condition of staying away from social media for one year for granting anticipatory bail to a Tamil Nadu resident who was booked for an alleged derogatory Facebook post against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The SC in 2021 stayed the Kerala High Court judgement restricting an activist Rehana Fathima from printing, posting or publishing her views on any media.

Community service as a bail condition

The Patna High Court, in a bail order, directed the petitioner to tender service as a volunteer for a period of three months from the date of his release in the process of combating Corona virus.

the Madhya Pradesh High Court, in a bail order, directed a grocery shop-owner, apprehended for lockdown violation, to render voluntary services for a week, and to contribute Rs. 10,000/- towards the PM CARES Fund, as a precondition for bail. Jharkhand High Court also was keen on imposing a bail condition of donation to PM Cares fund as a bail condition.

The Madras High Court imposed a bail condition on an illegal bike rider to take care of the patients at Trauma Ward for a period of 30 days from the next date of release from the prison, as a bail condition.

Court’s discretion in bail must be to uphold law & justice

The SC says in Parvez Noordin Lokhandwalla v State of Maharashtra that the discretion of the court in imposing bail conditions has to be guided by the need to facilitate the administration of justice, secure the presence of the accused and ensure that the liberty of the accused is not misused to impede the investigation, overawe the witnesses or obstruct the course of justice.

The conditions which a court imposes for the grant of bail have to balance the public interest in the enforcement of criminal justice with the rights of the accused.

The law must be the guiding force for the courts in imposing bail conditions but not their whims and fancies, even if the end results of imposing such conditions might be morally good.

Further reading

When bail condition border on the absurd. The Hindu daily dated 30th May 2022