Can Bail Once Granted Be Cancelled By Court? –

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Once grant of bail has been ordered by a Court under Section 437 (1) or (2) or Section
439(1) it follows as a natural consequence that the said order can be cancelled under
Sub-section (5) of Section 437 or Sub-section (2) of Section 439 on consideration relevant for cancellation of an order thereunder.

As stated in Dolat Ram and Ors. vs. State of Haryana (1995) 1 SCC 349, the grounds for cancellation of bail are as follows:

  1. the accused misuses his liberty by indulging in similar criminal activity,
  2. interferes with the course of investigation,
  3. attempts to tamper with evidence or witnesses,
  4. threatens witnesses or indulges in similar activities which would hamper smooth investigation,
  5. there is likelihood of his fleeing to another country,
  6. attempts to make himself scarce by going underground or becoming unavailable to the investigating agency,
  7. attempts to place himself beyond the reach of his surety etc.

Also Read: Types of Bail in India

These grounds are illustrative and not exhaustive. It must also be remembered that rejection of bail stands on one footing but cancellation of bail is a harsh order because it interferes with the liberty of the individual and hence it must not be lightly resorted to.

It is, therefore, clear that when a person to whom bail has been granted either tries to interfere with the course of justice or attempts to tamper with evidence or witnesses or threatens witnesses Or indulges in similar activities which would hamper smooth investigation or trial, bail granted can be cancelled. Rejection of bail stands on one footing, but cancellation of bail is a harsh order because it takes away the liberty of an individual granted and is not to be lightly resorted to.

Is mere assertion of an alleged threat to witness sufficient ground for cancellation of bail?

It has been held by the Supreme Court of India that mere assertion of an alleged threat to witnesses should not be utilized as a ground for cancellation of bail, routinely. Otherwise, there is ample scope for making such allegation to nullify the bail granted. The Court before which such allegations are made should in each case carefully weigh the acceptability of the allegations and pass orders as circumstances warrant in law. Such matters should be dealt with expeditiously so that actual interference with the ordinary and normal course of justice is nipped in the bud and an irretrievable stage is not reached.

Can the same judge who granted bail can also order for its cancellation?

It has been held by the Supreme Court of India in Harjeet Singh v. State of Punjab AIR 2002SC 281 that there is a longstanding convention and requirement of judicial discipline that subsequent application for grant or cancellation of bail application should be placed before the same Judge who had passed the earlier order.

Conclusion:

Very cogent and overwhelming circumstances are necessary for an order directing the cancellation of the bail, already granted. However, bail once granted should not be cancelled in a mechanical manner without considering whether any supervening
circumstances have rendered it no longer conducive to a fair trial to allow the accused to retain his freedom by enjoying the concession of bail during the trial.

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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances. 

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