Accused being granted bail should be given a choice between surety bonds and fixed deposits: High Court of Himachal Pradesh

A surety bond is when an amount of cash is paid by a third party on behalf on the accused, with that third party (bondsman) vouching for the defendant to show up to court upon being summoned. However it is always not possibly for an accused to find someone willing to vouch for him and this is why the option of accepting fixed deposits as a form of surety is practical alternative. Giving the bail petitioner the option to choose between surety bonds and fixed deposits was granted by a bench consisting of Justice Anoop Chitkara of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh in the case of Mohit Kumar v State of Himachal Pradesh [Cr.MP(M) No: 918 of 2021] on 4th June 2021.

The petitioner, Mohit Kumar, along with eight of his accomplices have been accused of abduction and threat to hurt under Section 364A of the IPC, wrongful confinement under Section 342 of the IPC, criminal intimidation under Section 506 of the IPC and criminal conspiracy under Section 120B of the IPC. The petitioner’s counsel pleaded that incarcerating him before a judgement would be injustice to him and his family, thereby requesting bail from the court.

The court noted that if the allegations are true, the conduct of the petitioner is unforgivable. However since the case is still pending and the petitioner has already been imprisoned for the past five months, he will be allowed bail conditional that he strictly follows a set of term and conditions that make sure he cannot contact the victim or try to influence the outcome of the pending case in any manner. Upon analysing the case of Manish Lal Shrivastava v State of Himachal Pradesh [CrMPM No: 1734 of 2020], this court came to the conclusion that any court that is granting bail with sureties should give the accused a choice between giving a fixed deposit or furnishing surety bonds and furthermore allow the option of switching over to another.

The court adjudged that “The petitioner shall be released on bail in the FIR mentioned above, subjecting to his furnishing a personal bond of Rs 25,000 and two sureties of a similar amount to the satisfaction of the judicial magistrate”. It was also stated that alternatively “the petitioner may furnish the aforesaid personal bond and fixed deposit(s) for Rs 25,000”.

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