Supreme Court Rules That Setting Unreasonably High Surety Amounts As A Condition For Bail Violates The Accused’s Right To Liberty

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Case Title: Ashok Sandeep Singh vs State of Uttar Pradesh

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud, along with Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra of the Supreme Court ruled that imposing excessively high levels of surety as a prerequisite for granting bail undermines the essence of bail and infringes upon the accused’s right to life and liberty as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution.

The bench presided over a case where the lower courts had mandated a bail condition of ₹10 lakh for the accused individual.

The bench said “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,”

The trial court mandated a Rs 10 lakh bond, secured by two sureties. Despite a subsequent plea to reduce this amount being dismissed by the High Court, the accused sought relief from the Supreme Court.

Upon review, the apex court acknowledged the petitioner’s predicament as a retired judicial clerk unable to meet the high surety demand.

Consequently, the Supreme Court reduced the surety amount to a more manageable Rs 25,000.

“We accordingly order and direct that the quantum of surety which has been fixed by the trial Judge in the amount of Rs10 lakh shall stand reduced to Rs 25,000. Likewise, the personal bond which his to be filed by the petitioner shall be in the amount of Rs 25,000,” 

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