Kerala High Court: V.G. Arun, J., allowed the instant petition whereby the petitioners had sought for the issuance of directions to the Sessions Judge for the release of their passports.

The Petitioners were accused of offences punishable under Sections 341, 324 and 308 r/w 34 of Penal Code, 1860. Regarding which the trial was pending before the Assistant Sessions Court. The petitioners were granted bail on the condition they should surrender their passports before the court. Accordingly, petitioners had surrendered their passports.

The grievance of the petitioners was that they were all ordinary workmen employed abroad and unless the passports were released and the petitioners permitted to go abroad for re-joining duty, they would be put to extreme prejudice and loss. It was submitted that though, initially, the petitioners had kept away during the committal proceedings; they had surrendered at a later stage.

The Bench noticed that the Magistrate had granted bail to the petitioners after going through the wound certificate of the de facto complainant, and finding the injuries to be minor. Contrary to which, the Assistant Sessions Judge referred to the nature of the offences and the behaviour of the accused as serious to deny the relief.

On finding the observation regarding the serious nature of the offence to be contrary to the findings injury report suffered by the de facto complainant, where injuries were reported of being minor in nature. Further, observing that the petitioners had surrendered before the jurisdictional Magistrate Court during the committal proceedings and had complied with the bail conditions. That the Assistant Sessions Court was yet to frame charge and that the petitioners were prepared to comply with any condition to be imposed by the court, the Bench stated, “The petitioners are labourers and their livelihood will be lost, if they fail to report back for duty.”

In the light of the above, the Bench ordered the Assistant Sessions Court to release all the passports surrendered by the petitioners for a period of one year, subject to the following conditions:

  • The petitioners should execute a bond for Rs.50,000, (Rupees fifty thousand only) each with two solvent sureties.
  • Should submit an affidavit undertaking to appear before the Trial Court as and when directed, which should contain the petitioners’ foreign address, mobile number, email address and other contact details.
  • Petitioners should engage Counsel to represent them in court, during their absence.

[Rahim P. v. State of Kerala, Crl.M.C.No.1775 of 2021, decided on 29-03-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance before the Court:

For the Petitioners: Adv. Ajai Babu and Adv. Rosin Joseph

For the Respondents: Sr. .PP. C.S. Hrithwik and ASG. P.Vijayakumar

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