March 18, 2021 6:02:36 am
Dismissing Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel’s plea seeking deletion of his bail condition that requires him to seek prior court permission before travelling out of Gujarat, the Gujarat High Court has held that the condition was imposed with the “sole object” to ensure his “availability at crucial stage of trial”.
In the detailed copy of the verdict, made public on March 16, the bench of Justice AY Kogje held that the restriction imposed on Patel is “reasonable” and it is open to trial courts to impose reasonable bail conditions to ensure timely trial.
The bail condition was imposed on Patel in January 2020 after he was arrested for failing to appear before an Ahmedabad trial court in connection with an FIR filed in 2015 by the crime branch, wherein the Congress leader was charged with sedition during the Patidar agitation. While granting him bail, the trial court had then imposed the condition that he would be required to seek prior permission of the court before leaving the local limits of Gujarat.
“Ultimately, conduct of trial is in the exclusive domain of the trial court and, therefore, it will always be open for the trial court to impose a reasonable condition guided by the judgments pronounced from time to time by the apex court in this connection. The condition impugned, in the opinion of the court, does not appear to be arbitrary or fanciful or it extends beyond the ends of provision.
In fact, the condition is reasonable condition and does not bar completely the petitioner from travelling, but only to seek permission of the court if he has to travel beyond the jurisdiction of the state, meaning thereby when the petitioner desires to travel out of Gujarat, the trial court would be able to assess the stage of trial and then consider urgency in the petitioner’s case for traveling out of Gujarat and then pass necessary orders which will ensure control of the trial court for the progress in the trial. Therefore, in the opinion of the court, the impugned condition is a reasonable condition and does not warrant any interference,” the court stated.
The HC also said “…the sessions court has given cogent reasonings for imposing the condition as well as rejecting the application for deletion of such condition.”
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