Accused Appearing Drunk In Court Is Not A Ground To Cancel Bail: Himachal Pradesh HC [Read Order]
"The learned Sessions Judge appears to have felt offended by the very fact of the petitioner coming to the court after taking liquor, but that by itself could not have been a ground for cancelling the bail."
The High Court of Himachal Pradesh came down heavily on a Sessions Court Judge who had cancelled bail to an accused because smell of alcohol was emanating from the mouth of the accused.
Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan, also directed the judge to show cause in this regard, and observed that the very fact of the accused coming to the court after taking liquor by itself could not have been a ground for cancelling the bail.
The Sessions Judge in his order cancelling bail had observed thus:
"At this stage, the smell of alcohol is badly emanating from the mouth of accused. The act and conduct of the accused while appearing in this Court under the state of intoxication in a Sessions Trial being faced by him, is not upto the mark. As such, he is not entitled to enjoy the discretionary relief of bail granted by this Court. Henceforth, his bail bonds are cancelled and forfeited to the State of HP and he is committed to judicial custody till 27.3.2019. Jail warrant be prepared accordingly…."
The High court, in the bail application moved by the accused before it, observed that the Sessions Judge has passed this order in the most reckless manner in utter disregard to the legal principles. The judge said:
"I really fail to understand as to under which provision of law and under what authority has the Sessions Judge proceeded to cancel the bail which had earlier been granted to the petitioner on 8.5.2015. 4. If at all the bail of the petitioner was to be cancelled, the same could have only been done in accordance with law by taking recourse to Section 439 (2) Cr.P.C."
Referring to an old judgment of the High Court in Ramesh Chand vs. State of Himachal Pradesh, the court observed that that merely appearing in a drunken state in a Court is neither offering an insult nor causing interruption to the Presiding Officer of the Court.
In Ramesh Chand, proceedings under section 228 of the Indian Penal Code were initiated against a person for having taken liquor while appearing in the Court. While quashing the proceedings, the court had made this interesting observation:
"Merely appearing in a drunken state in a court is neither offering an insult nor causing interruption to the Presiding Officer of the Court. Sometimes it is seen that such like persons show more respect to the court than others who may not have ' taken liquor, The sine-qua-non of the offence is causing of intentional insult to the court and obstruction to its proceedings."
While setting aside the order, the court observed:
"The learned Sessions Judge appears to have felt offended by the very fact of the petitioner coming to the court after taking liquor, but that by itself could not have been a ground for cancelling the bail"