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Assistant Sessions Court directed to release all of the petitioners’ passports for a year, with certain restrictions: Kerala High Court

Assistant Sessions Court directed to release all of the petitioners’ passports for a year, with certain restrictions by the Kerala High Court in the case of Rahim P. v. State of Kerala (Crl.M.C.No.1775 of 2021) through Justice V.G. Arun.

FACTS OF THE CASE

In the current case, the petitioners requested that the Sessions Judge provide instructions for the release of their passports. According to the 1860 Penal Code, Sections 341, 324, and 308 r/w 34, the petitioners were charged with crimes. The Assistant Sessions Court heard the case in question. Bail was granted to the petitioners with the requirement that they turn up their passports to the court. Therefore, the petitioners had turned in their passports.

The petitioners’ complaint was that they were all regular workers employed abroad, and that if their passports weren’t returned and they weren’t allowed to return for more employment, they would suffer severe disadvantage and loss. Although the petitioners first stayed away from the committal proceedings, it was claimed that they eventually turned themselves in.

JUDGMENT

The Court observed that the Magistrate had granted bail to the petitioners after reviewing the de facto complainant’s wound certificate and determining that the injuries were not serious. In contrast, the Assistant Sessions Judge rejected the relief by citing the seriousness of the offences and the accused’s behavior.

The observation that the offence was significant was found to be at odds with the de facto complainant’s injury report, which indicated that the complainant had only minor wounds. Moreover, it was noted that the petitioners had met with the bail requirements and had submitted to the competent Magistrate Court during the committal procedures. The Court remarked that the petitioners are labourers and their livelihood will be lost, if they fail to come back for duty. The Assistant Sessions Court has yet to frame charge, and the petitioners are prepared to comply with whatever condition to be imposed by the court.

Given the foregoing, the Court directed the Assistant Sessions Court to release all of the petitioners’ passports for a year, with certain restrictions which included that the petitioners must sign a bond for Rs. 50,000 ($5,000) each with two financially sound sureties. They should provide an affidavit containing their overseas address, phone number, email address, and other contact information, pledging to appear before the trial court as and when ordered and the petitioners should hire a lawyer to appear on their behalf in court while they are away.

Accordingly, the petition was granted by the Court.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NISHTHA GARHWAL

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