MOTI RAM Vs. STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH [1978 SC]

 

SUBJECT – What is the meaning of Ss. 436, 437 & 441 Cr.P.C relating to the grant of Bail or Bond? Is order of rejecting surety because he or his estate was situated in a different district discriminatory and illegal under Art. 14 of Indian Constitution?

EQUIVALENT CITATIONS  –  1978 AIR 1594, 1979 SCR(1) 335

BENCH  – Krishnaiyer, V.R.

FACTS OF THE CASE –

  1. The petitioner, Moti Ram resident of Madhya Pradesh was a poor mason.
  2. His petition for bail was accepted by the Supreme Court and he obtained an order for bail in his favour, “to the satisfaction of the Chief Judicial Magistrate”.
  3. The Chief Judicial Magistrate ordered the petitioner that a surety in a sum of Rs. 10,000/- be produced.
  4. The petitioner being a poor man could not produce the huge sum or manage a surety of sufficient prosperity.
  5. Apart from this, the Magistrate demanded sureties from his own district.
  6. The Magistrate refused to accept the suretyship at petitioner’s brother simply on the ground that his estates were situated in another district.
  7. The petitioner, Moti Ram again moved the Supreme Court requesting it to modify its original order to the extent that the petitioner be released on furnishing the surety only to the amount of Rs. 2000/- or on executing a personal bond or pass any other order or direction deemed fit and proper because the petitioner is a poor man.

 

DECISION OF SUPREME COURT –

  1. Section 436 of the Code speaks of bail but the proviso makes a contradistinction between ‘bail’ and ‘own bond without sureties’. Here ‘bail’ suggests ‘with or without sureties’.
  2. Section 437(2) blandly speaks of bail but speaks of release on bail of persons below 16 years of age, sick or infirm people and women. Bail there suggested release, the accent being on undertaking to appear when directed, not on the production of sureties. But Section 437(2) distinguishes between bail and bond without sureties.
  3. Section 441(2) uses the word ‘bail’ to include ‘own bond’ loosely as meaning one or the other or the both and nothing in section 441(1) compels a contrary meaning. Section 441(2) and (3) use the word ‘bail’ generically because the expression is intended to cover bond with or without sureties.
  4. With regard to the further petition of the petitioner requesting the court to modify the bail order, their Lordships of Supreme Court observed that we mandate the Magistrate to release the petitioner on his own bond in a sum of Rs. 1,000/- only.

Supreme Court, therefore, allowed the petition of the petitioner.

PRINCIPLES OF THE LAW LAID DOWN –

  • The Magistrate must abandon the old concept relating to the granting of bail under which pre-trial release could be ordered only against monetary bail. That concept is outdated in the modern age. The experience has shown that it has done more harm than good in the past.
  • The present bail system causes discrimination against the poor person.
  • The order of the Magistrate rejecting the surety because he or his estate is situated in a different district, is discriminatory and violative of Art. 14 of Indian Constitution.

 

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