Anticipatory bail plea can be moved again only on change in facts or circumstances of case: Kerala High Court

Even though there is no absolute embargo in filing a plea for pre-arrest bail after it has been dismissed once, such a plea can be entertained again only if there is a substantial change in the facts, the Court said.

The Kerala High Court recently observed that there is no absolute bar on filing an application for anticipatory bail a second time after its dismissal or acceptance the first time round. [Suresh KM V State of Kerala & Anr.].

However, Justice Kauser Edappagath added that such a second anticipatory bail plea can be entertained only if there is a change in the facts of the case which necessitates the interference of the Court with the earlier bail order.

“Even though there is no absolute embargo in filing the subsequent application for pre-arrest bail, it can be entertained only if there is a substantial change in the facts and circumstances of the case, which requires the earlier view be interfered with or where, the earlier finding has become obsolete,” the Court said.

Otherwise, an order granting or refusing to grant a pre-arrest bail application is a final order, and the entertainment of a second plea would amount to reviewing such a final order, the Court explained.

The High Court made the observation while dismissing a pre-arrest bail application filed by a man whose first application for anticipatory bail was rejected.

The man stood accused of sexually assaulting a woman and was charged with offences punishable under Sections 354 (outraging modesty of woman) and 511 of 376C (related to punishment for rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The Senior Advocate representing the accused contended that in the first application, the Court was not informed that the woman’s husband had a habit of filing frivolous complaints.

The counsel added that since the police had finished their custodial interrogation, the accused man’s arrest was not mandatory.

He contended that the principle of res judicata or estoppel does not apply to criminal jurisprudence. As such, there is no bar to prevent the accused from filing successive bail applications if there are sufficient grounds, he argued.

The High Court, however, found that the accused man had not submitted any material to prove his allegation that the woman’s husband had filed frivolous petitions.

The Court added that even if the custodial interrogation was not required, that by itself is not a ground to grant anticipatory bail.

The High Court proceeded to dismiss the anticipatory bail plea.

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