Moti Ram v. State of M.P.

Published On: 13th February, 2024

Authored By: Vedanti Wanjari
Symbiosis Law School, Nagpur


The case made some major points that the weaker sections of society, such as the proletariat, linguistic and other minorities, and distant denizens from the far reaches of our country with its vast diversity, may well be the victims when suretyship is insisted upon, heavy sums are demanded as bail, or local bailors alone are persona grata. The grant of bail can be stultified or made impossibly inconvenient and expensive if the court is in power.


  • According to the facts, Moti Ram, the petitioner and accused, was a poor mason who had been found guilty of a crime.
  • The Supreme Court passed an order, referring the same to the Chief Judicial Magistrate to enlarge him on bail without making any specifications regarding sureties or bail bonds.
  • The CJM ordered a sum of Rs. 10,000/- to be paid as the bail benefit and also passed an odd order refusing to accept the sureties of the petitioner’s brother as he and his assets were in another district.
  • The petitioner who filed the plea was required to provide a surety in the amount of Rs. 10,000 by the magistrate. In this case, the Supreme Court noted that the amount was enormous and declined to grant the mason bail for two reasons:
  1. The petitioner could not present such a large sum of money.
  2. Because the petitioner’s brother and his assets were located in a different district, the magistrate issued an unexpected decision refusing to accept him as a surety.
  • When the Court’s order for release was frustrated by the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s intransigence, the petitioner moved this Court to modify the original order to the extent that the petitioner be released on furnishing the surety of Rs. 2,000/- on or executing a personal bond.


Three legal issues have been framed by the Hon’ble Court in this case, i.e.,

  1. Can the Court, under the Code of Criminal Procedure, enlarge, on his own bond without sureties, a person undergoing incarceration for a non-bailable offense either as under trial or as a convict who has appealed or sought special leave?
  2. If the Court decides to grant bail with sureties, what criteria should guide it in quantifying the amount of bail?
  3. Does the Court have the authority to reject a surety because he or his estate is situated in a different State or district?


  1. The Hon’ble Supreme Court construed some Code sections in its response to the first issue. It claims that even if S. 436 of the code refers to bail, the proviso distinguishes between bail and an individual bond without sureties. Bail in this context denotes “with or without sureties”. S. 437(2) of the code proposes release without the provision of sureties upon a promise to appear as ordered. The codes S. 441(1) and S. 445 also mention the requirement for bonds with or without sureties. If used widely, it would utilize the words “bail” and “own bond” to mean the opposite of each other. The Court of Appeal may release a criminal on his own bond without sureties in accordance with S. 389 of the law as well. The relevant factor is the applicant’s guilt status, not the court’s jurisdiction.

Observations by the court with respect to Issue 1 –

  • A person who has been found guilty may be released by the court of appeal on his own recognizance without sureties.
  • It cannot be the case that a defendant who is still awaiting trial has a worse case than a convicted person or that the court has more discretion to grant freedom when guilt is confirmed.
  • Relevant is the applicant’s guilt status, not the court’s standing (relevant).
  • It is a reduetio ad absurdam that a guilty man may request judicial freedom without sureties but an undertrial cannot (reduction to absurdity).
  1. In response to the second question, the Court stated that when sureties were to be demanded from a person who is a prisoner who is awaiting trial, a person who has been found guilty, or a person who has filed an appeal, the amount to be insisted on being paid by the said persons should be dependent on variables.

“There are several factors that determine whether sureties should be requested and how much should be sought. Nevertheless, courts should be flexible in releasing impoverished men and women—Indians who are financially impoverished, young people who are ill, and women—on their own recognizance, subject to any reasonable conditions you may impose.

There are several factors that determine when sureties should be requested and how much should be required.

Release on one’s own bond is covered by bail, whether sureties are required or not.

The court in this case noted that detention before trial has serious consequences because defendants, who are presumed innocent until proven guilty, are subjected to the psychological and physical hardships of jail life and sometimes even more onerous conditions are placed on them than those placed on those who have been found guilty.

  1. The magistrate’s demand for sureties—people with property—from his own area was insulting, the court said, and it was shocking to require the petitioner—a mason—to provide sureties for Rs 10,000. The court stated that no such statute exists that mandates sureties from non-regional or foreign applications. The Court noted that Indians living on Indian territory are protected by Article 14 of the Constitution. The representation of any person to any authority, including a court, for the purpose of seeking redress of his concerns in any language used in the Union of India is also prohibited by Article 350. A Vakalat or affirmation made in any state language will be accepted anywhere within the territory of India under the provisions of Article 14’s equality before the law unless there is a legitimate statute to the contrary.

“Social Justice is the hallmark tune of our Constitution, and the little man in danger of losing his liberty is the consumer of social justice,” it has been said. If the court is unable to waive surety, the bail can be nudged or it will be inconvenient. The issue is primarily one of freedom and human rights, thus the courts must do away with these irregularities and establish a fair process that has a creative meaning. According to a liberal view in the field of social justice, bail includes release on one’s own bond, with or without sureties. The Court ruled that judges should be more inclined to grant bail than to sentence people to prison.


The court’s ruling shows a commitment towards social justice as well as an awareness of possible injustices that the less fortunate may experience while going through the judicial system. Constitutional principles are upheld by the emphasis on equal protection under the law and the rejection of arbitrary territorial restrictions on sureties. In a greater sense, the necessity of a compassionate and all-encompassing approach to determining bail, taking into account the accused’s socioeconomic background in addition to legal requirements. The court’s demand for social justice and bail is a positive step in making sure that the disadvantages are represented in the legal system.


The court determined that bail covers both release on one’s own bond and release with or without sureties and that the timing and amount of sureties should be sought depending on several factors. The court further ordered the magistrate to release the petitioner on his own bond in the amount of Rs 1,000. It is not within the court’s jurisdiction to reject a surety because he or she resides in a different district. The Court concluded that bail covers both sorts of release under one’s own bond—with or without sureties. This was done to protect persons who are impoverished and needy and unable to furnish sureties.

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