Supreme Court directs that Rights of Accused should not become Illusionary by Imposition of Disproportionate Bail Conditions.

Introduction

The Apex Court set aside the order of the High Court dated 23 July 2020, which declined to permit Parvez Noordin Lokhandwalla to travel to the US for a period of eight weeks from 25 July to 6 September 2020. He urged that it was mandatory for him to return to the US within stipulated period of his departure from that country, failing which the conditions for revalidation of the Green Card would not be fulfilled. The High Court declined to relax the conditions imposed by it for the grant of interim bail on the ground that an FIR has been registered against him.

The Supreme Court bench consisted Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee.

Court’s Decision

After hearing both the sides the Court shared its views:

  • The conditions which a court imposes for the grant of bail-in this case temporary bail- have to balance the public interest in the enforcement of criminal justice with the rights of the accused. The human right to dignity and the protection of constitutional safeguards should not become illusionary by the imposition of the conditions which are disproportionate to the need to secure the presence of the accused, the proper course of investigation and eventually to ensure fair trial. The conditions which are imposed by the court must bear a proportional relationship to the purpose of imposing the conditions. The nature of the risk which is posed by the grant permission as sought in this case must be carefully evaluated in each case.
  • The appellant is an Indian citizen and holds an Indian passport. While it’s true that an FIR has been lodged against the appellant, should not itself prevent him from travelling to the US, where he is a resident since 1985, particularly when it has been drawn to the attention of the High Court and this Court that serious consequences would ensue in terms of the invalidation of the Green card if the appellant were not permitted to travel. The record indicates the large amount of litigation between the family of the appellant and the complainant. The appellant has frequently travelled between the US and India even after the filing of the complaint and the FIR. The application for modification was incorrectly rejected by the High Court and the appellant ought to have been allowed to travel to the US for a period of eight weeks.
  • The Court hence allowed the appellant to travel to the US for a period of eight weeks, subject to furnishing an undertaking to the Court before the date of the travel that he will return to India after the expiry of eight weeks and he shall be available on all dates of hearing before the court of criminal jurisdiction, unless specifically exempted from personal appearance.
  • Hence, the order of the High Court dated 23 July 2020 was set aside.

Key Highlights

  • Case name: Parvez Noordin Lokhandwalla v. State of Maharashtra & Anr.
  • Case no.: Criminal Appeal No.648 of 2020
  • Counsel: Adv Subhash Jha for appellant, Adv Sachin Patil for State.

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