Anticipatory bails can be filed from abroad, says Kerala HC while hearing Vijay Babu bail plea

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday stated that an application for pre-arrest bail can be filed even by a person residing outside the country.

The bench of Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas made the observation while considering the anticipatory bail plea of actor Vijay Babu, who is facing a rape case. The court looked into the maintainability of the pre-arrest bail as the prosecution said the actor went abroad in an attempt to flee from the hands of law, and moved bail sitting outside the country. The practice of filing applications for bail sitting outside the country should not be entertained, the prosecution argued.

But the high court said its considerate view is that anticipatory bail pleas can be filed by persons residing abroad, but “the only limitation is that prior to the final hearing, the applicant must be inside the country to enable the court to impose and enforce conditions contemplated under the statutory provisions.”

The Court said Section 438 of the CrPC does not contain a restrictive mandate that a person residing outside the country cannot file an application for anticipatory bail. “It is possible that a person can apprehend arrest even outside the country for an offence that occurred in India. With the advancement in investigative technology and communication, the various agencies of investigation could even be deployed to arrest a person outside the country. An apprehension of arrest can arise even while the applicant is residing outside the country,” the high court added.

“Thus, when a bonafide apprehension exists, the statute confers power on such a person to seek protection from arrest. In the absence of any restrictive clauses in Section 438 of the CrPC, restricting the right of a person residing outside the country from filing an application for pre-arrest bail, (the) court cannot read into the provision such a restriction which the legislature did not incorporate,” said the judge.

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