Himachal High Court attaches stiff conditions to bail: Insists on Aadhar card for identification

Shimla: Finding cases of impersonation on the rise for jumping bail, the Himachal Pradesh High Court revised the guidelines for judicial officers handing out bail or for those standing surety and asked police and courts to insist for Aadhar (UDAI) identification wherever they have been issued.

Passing directions under administrative side of High Court, Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Sanjay Karol directed that whenever an accused is produced before a court, a photograph of the accused is affixed with the records Saja Slip that needs to attested by the magistrate at the time.

The court directed that wherever Unique Identity Proof Cards (Aadhar Cards) have been issued, the identification be insisted by the courts and police officers and the trial courts also need to insist for identification of accused whenever they are directed to be present in court.

Those standing surety for the accused also, photos of the persons identified should form part of the records, the courts directed.

In NDPS cases, where foreign nationals are involved, the courts need to be circumspect in granting bails.

Where bails are to be granted also, stringent conditions should be imposed with a minimum of two solvent sureties and the bonds of the sureties should be for substantial amounts, the judges directed.

Though it may not be proper for this court to give any indication as to what should be the substantial amount, in view of the changing economic conditions, we are of the view that each surety should be having solvency to the tune of Rs 50 Lakhs, where commercial quantity is involved, and in all other cases, except the small quantity the solvency should be a minimum of Rs 5 lakhs. In small quantity, the bond shall be a minimum of Rs 1 lakh for each surety.

In order to ascertain solvency, the trial courts may look into the revenue papers with respect to title, ownership or any other proof with regard to their solvency, the judges ordered.

The High Court asked for tightening the bail norms after coming across a criminal case under which a Nepalese citizen was taken into custody on 16th December, 2008 after being found in possession of 1460 gms of Charas.

However, he was granted bail with one surety, who was directed to execute a bond Rs 50,000.

When the accused jumped bail and absconded, the surety Panne Lal filed a criminal appeal before the High Court stating that he had never stood as surety and he was totally ignorant of the whole episode.

The counsel, one Haresh Sood did not appear after the first appearance in the appeal in the case.

The judges also learnt at the bar that there were many instances of impersonation of both the accused and the sureties and the accused, particularly foreign nationals, absconding.

The judges noted that it is also reported that there is a racket of criminals in some parts of the State and that imposition of lenient conditions in the grant of bail also have led to a situation of accused absconding.

In relation to the case mentioned the courts directed the police to conduct an investigation and report the findings within two months.

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