Politicians can't be restrained from participating in political acts: Supreme Court [26.3.2024]

The Supreme Court had recently said that ordering a politician to refrain from taking part in political activities as a condition for the grant of bail would be a violation of fundamental rights.

A bench of Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta set aside a bail condition imposed by the Orissa High Court to the extent that it barred a politician from political activities.

The bench, in its order on March 22, stated, "We find that the imposition of such conditions would breach the fundamental rights of the appellant and no such conditions could have been imposed. We, therefore, quash and set aside the condition imposed by the High Court, to the extent the same is extracted above. Accordingly, the appeals are allowed."

The order of the apex court came on a petition filed by Odisha Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Berhampur mayor Siba Shankar Das, who was earlier part of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) party and some criminal cases were allegedly filed against him after he switched parties.

Das, who was elected as Mayor of Berhampur Municipal Corporation, challenged the Orissa High Court's order of January 18, 2024, which rejected his application for withdrawal of such a condition imposed in the order of bail passed on August 11, 2022.

By August 11, 2022, the High Court, while granting him bail, directed that he shall not create any untoward situation in public and shall not be involved in any political activities, directly or indirectly.

The High Court, in its order, on January 24, said that it would be unjustified to modify the condition of the bail permitting him to take part in political activities as he faced 57 criminal cases and a murderous attack by a bomb in October 2023.

26 Mar 2024