Bail law and SC call for reform

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Bail law and SC call for reform

  • SC underlined need for reform in bail law and asked govt. to consider framing a special legislation on lines of law in UK.
  • Bail: Conditional release of a defendant with the promise to appear in court when required.
    • The term also means the security that is deposited in order to secure the release of the accused.

Types of Bail in India

  • Regular bail: Granted to a person who has been arrested or is in police custody.
  • Interim bail: Granted for a short period of time and it is granted before the hearing for the grant of regular bail or anticipatory bail.
  • Anticipatory bail: Granted under section 438 of CrPC either by session court or High Court.
  • An application for the grant of anticipatory bail can be filed by the person who discerns that he may be arrested by the police for a non-bailable offence.

Why bail needs reform?

  • Huge pendency of undertrials: In Indian jails over two-thirds lodged are undertrials.
  • Indiscriminate arrests: Majority may not even be required to be arrested despite registration of a cognizable offence, being charged with offences punishable for seven years or less.
  • Disadvantageous for some sections: Mostly undertrials are poor, illiterate and include women.
  • Colonial legacy: Court linked the idea of indiscriminate arrests to magistrates ignoring rule of “bail, not jail” to colonial mindset.

What is the law on bail?

  • The CrPC does not define the word bail but only categories offences under IPC as ‘bailable’ and ‘non-bailable’.
  • CrPC empowers magistrates to grant bail for bailable offences as a matter of right.
  • This would involve release on furnishing a bail bond, with or without security.

And what is the UK law?

  • The Bail Act of the United Kingdom, 1976, prescribes the procedure for granting bail.
  • A key feature is that one of the aims of the legislation is “reducing the size of the inmate population”.
  • The law also has provisions for ensuring legal aid for defendants.
  • The Act recognises a “general right” to be granted bail.

What has the Supreme Court held on reforms?

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