Supreme Court Questions Bail Condition Requiring Accused to Share Google Pin Location

The Supreme Court has expressed concerns over a bail condition that requires an accused to share their Google pin location with the Investigation Officer throughout the period of their bail. The Court believes that this condition may violate the individual’s right to privacy. The case involves the internal auditor of Shakti Bhog Foods Limited who was granted bail in a money laundering case related to bank loan fraud.

Delhi High Court’s Bail Condition Under Scrutiny

The bail condition imposed by the Delhi High Court is now being examined by the Supreme Court. The Court will assess whether this condition can be permitted under Article 21 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to life and personal liberty. Justice Abhay S Oka questioned the practical effect of such a condition and whether it encroaches upon an individual’s fundamental right to privacy.

Technology vs. Right to Privacy

In defense of the bail condition, the Enforcement Directorate’s counsel argued that it is simply a technological measure to ensure compliance, similar to the requirement of reporting to the Investigation Officer every week. However, Justice Oka highlighted that tracking the movement of an accused is different from ensuring their presence. The counsel also referred to the Puttuswamy case, where the Supreme Court held that crime prevention can justify infringement upon the right to privacy. However, Justice Oka pointed out that this specific issue was not addressed in that case.

Next Hearing Scheduled for 12th December

The Supreme Court has postponed further consideration of the matter until 12th December. The Court will thoroughly examine the bail condition imposed by the Delhi High Court and its compatibility with the right to privacy.

Background of the Case

The case involves an FIR filed against Shakti Bhog Foods Limited for financial irregularities and siphoning of funds. The internal auditor, who was granted bail, claims that he was not named as an accused in the FIR and was not involved in the alleged activities during the period under investigation. The Delhi High Court allowed the investigation to proceed but released the applicant on bail with several conditions, including sharing their Google pin location with the Investigation Officer.

Bail Conditions Set by Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court set several conditions for the applicant’s bail, including furnishing a personal bond, surrendering their passport, providing their cellphone number for contact, and dropping a Google pin location to the Investigation Officer. The applicant was also prohibited from engaging in any unlawful acts or actions that could prejudice pending cases, and was required to cooperate with the investigation and appear in court as directed.

Case Title: Directorate of Enforcement V Raman Bhuraria, Diary No.★23447 ★2023

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