Trial court while granting bail cannot direct accused to apply for a passport, obtain it and then surrender it to avail bail: Bombay HC

In a significant ruling, the Bombay High Court has quashed an unusual bail condition imposed by the Additional Sessions Court in Goa. The High Court held that while granting bail, a trial court cannot direct an accused to apply for a passport, obtain it, and then surrender it as a condition for availing bail.

The case involves Mr. Zakaulla Khazi, an 18-year-old accused in connection with FIR No. 20/2024 registered at Agassaim Police Station for offenses punishable under Sections 307, 504, and 506(ii) read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code. 

When Mr. Khazi applied for bail before the Additional Sessions Court, the court granted bail subject to certain conditions, including the requirement to deposit his passport. However, Mr. Khazi’s counsel argued that he did not possess a passport and had never applied for one. Despite this, the trial court initially failed to modify the condition and later directed Mr. Khazi to surrender his passport within four months, effectively mandating him to apply for a passport.

The High Court bench comprising Justice Bharat P. Deshpande noted that the trial court clearly failed to consider the fact that the accused did not have a passport and had never applied for one. The High Court observed that the direction to deposit a passport could only be given if the accused possessed one.

The High Court quashed the impugned order and directed the trial court to modify the bail condition to “The Applicant to deposit the passport, if any”. The High Court emphasized that while imposing bail conditions, the trial court does not have the power to direct an accused to apply for a passport, obtain it, and then surrender it.

Mr. Vibhav R. Amonkar appeared as counsel for Mr. Khazi, while Mr. S.G. Bhobe represented the State as the Public Prosecutor. The High Court’s ruling serves as a reminder to trial courts to carefully consider the individual circumstances of each case and avoid imposing unreasonable or unenforceable bail conditions.

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