Follow Us:

Cash-for-verdict: Kerala High Court recalls anticipatory bail order

The inquiry has been conducted on the basis of a High Court directive following allegations by some lawyers.

The Statesman Desk | Thiruvananthapuram |

The Kerala High Court has recalled the orders granting anticipatory bail to the accused in a case in, which the petitioners were represented by advocate Saiby Jose Kidangoor, who is facing allegation that he has collected lakhs of rupees from his clients on the pretext of bribing judges.

Justice Ziyad Rehman recalled the order granting anticipatory bail to 2 persons accused in a case, in which Saibi appeared for the accused. The court had recalled the order after finding that the anticipatory bail had been granted without hearing the side of the complainant.

The extraordinary action comes in the context of the ongoing police investigation over the incident, where advocate Saiby Jose allegedly took bribe on the pretext of giving to  judges in the High Court.

Justice Ziyad Rahman issued the order on 23 January on the basis of a petition filed by the victim in the case seeking recall of the judgment and a rehearing of the case. The case will be heard again.

The court had granted anticipatory bail to the accused on April 29, 2022 in connection with a case registered in Ranni under Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

In the bail order, the court noted that though the notice of the bail application has been served on the de facto complainant, the advocate did not appear on his behalf.

While recalling the order, the court said, “It is evident that the disposal of the bail application was without notice to the complainant.”

The court said that as per Section 15A(3) of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, a victim or his dependent shall have the right to reasonable, accurate and timely notice of court proceedings and the said public prosecutor or State Government shall inform the victim about the proceedings. Issuance of an order without complying with the such mandate makes the order null, it said.

Justice Ziyad Rehman  said, “It is an order issued not only in violation of provisions but is also against principles of natural justice. The court passed the order without taking note of the fact that no such notice was served upon the affected parties.

In such circumstances, I am of the view that the order is liable to be recalled in the light of the principles laid down by the Supreme Court in Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar’s case cited supra.”The court added that the bail application has been restored into the file and posted for hearing.

The Kerala High Court Vigilance wing, which conducted an inquiry into the allegation that lawyer Saiby Jose Kidangoor collected lakhs of rupees from his clients on the pretext of bribing judges has reportedly found prima facie sufficient material to proceed against him.

The inquiry has been conducted on the basis of a High Court directive following allegations by some lawyers. The report said that the vigilance team had found several instances of Saiby collecting huge sums of money from clients by taking the names of Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan, Justice A Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Ziyad Rahman A A of the High Court. It said his integrity was highly doubtful. He was recently elected as president of the Kerala High Court Advocates Association.

The vigilance wing recorded the statements of some lawyers during the inquiry. One lawyer reportedly said he received information that Saiby allegedly secured Rs.25 lakh from a client for bribing a judge.

Another lawyer alleged that Saiby allegedly collected Rs.50 lakh from clients. The lawyer also alleged that Saiby and his friends had been threatening him ever since he made the revelation on social media

The Vigilance wing report said that Saiby’s acts would come within the ambit of professional misconduct under Section 35 of the Advocates Act. The vigilance wing also reportedly suggested initiation of contempt of court proceedings against him as per Section 2 (c) of the Contempt of Court Act besides communicating it to the Bar Council of Kerala for initiating disciplinary action against him.

The Kochi police had registered a criminal case on the directions of the High Court Registrar in the wake of the report of High Court Vigilance wing.  The Kochi city police on Wednesday recorded the statement of lawyer Saiby Jose Kidangoor.  Earlier, statements of his clients, including a film producer, were also recorded.