What is the law regarding bail in India?
The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 or Cr.P.C. talks in details about the bail process and how it is obtained. However, it does not define bail. To get a glimpse of the law, we need to go deeper to section 2(a) Cr.P.C. wherein it says that bailable offense means an offense which is shown as bailable in the First Schedule or which is made bailable by any other law for the time being enforce, and non-bailable offense means any other offense.
Thus, section 2(a) Cr.P.C. talks about schedule which refers to all the offenses under the Indian Penal Code and puts them into bailable and on bailable categories which have been determined according to the nature of the crime. For instance, all serious offenses like offenses punishable with imprisonment for three years or more have seen considered as non bailable offenses, all other offenses have been kept bailable offenses.
Later part of the Cr.P.C. talks about the process of bail under sections 436 to 450 wherein it has the provisions for the grant of bail and bonds in criminal cases and also talks about the amount of security that is to be paid by the accused to secure his release has not been mentioned in the Cr.P.C. However, still a lot of discretionary power has been vested into the court to put a monetary cap on the bond.
Do I have right to bail?
The Supreme Court of India has delivered several cases wherein it has reminded that the basic rule is bail and not jail. One such instance came in State Of Rajasthan, Jaipur vs Balchand @ Baliay case which the apex court decided on 20 September, 1977 and held that the basic rule is bail, not jail, except-where there are circumstances suggestive of fleeing from justice or thwarting the course of justice or creating other troubles in the shape of repeating offences or intimidating witnesses and the like by the petitioner who seeks enlargement on bail from the court.
The bench of Krishnaiyer, V.R. had observed that when considering the question of bail, the gravity of the offence involved and the heinousness of the crime which are likely to induce the petitioner to avoid the course of justice must weigh with the court. Taking into consideration the facts of the case the apex court held that the circumstances and the social milieu do not militate against the petitioner being granted bail.
What is the process of bail?
When you are an accused of some crime and arrested to record your statement and take information like the name, residence address, birth place, charge filed against you, etc. The police officer may also check back the criminal record if any in the police station and ask for finger prints to files a case against you. The crimes that are bailable and simple, you will be allowed to apply for bail immediately.
However, if the crime is a little bit complex and non-bailable, you may wait for 48 hours to claim your right to bail in the court wherein you are given a hearing. Depending upon the facts of the case, the judge decides whether you should get bail or not. Also, in situation you are given bail you are asked to deposit money with the court. Generally, in certain smaller crime cases, a standard amount is asked to be deposited for awarding the bail.
What are the usual bail conditions?
There are some conditions put under section 437 of the Cr.P.C. wherein you can ask for bail even if you committed non-bailable offense. In non-bailable cases, bail is not the right but the discretion of the judge if regards the case as fit for the grant of bail, it regards imposition of certain conditions as necessary in the circumstances. Section S. 437 (3) elaborates the conditions set by the law to get bail in non-bailable offenses.
The sub-section says that when a person accused or suspected of the commission of an offense punishable with imprisonment which may extend to seven years or more or of an offense under Chapter VI, Chapter XVI or Chapter XVII of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) or abatement of, or conspiracy or attempt to commit, any such offense, is released on bail under sub-section (1). However, for that the Court has power to impose any condition which it considers necessary.
Some conditions that the court may place while granting bail are as follows:
- In order to ensure that such person shall attend in accordance with the conditions of the bond executed under this Chapter, or
- In order to ensure that such person shall not commit an offence similar to the offence of which he is accused or of the commission of which he is suspected, or
- Otherwise in the interests of Justice.