An essay on the basic guidelines for anticipatory bail i nIndia...
LAW OF CRIMES PAPER II: CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE-I Ist INTERNAL ASSIGNMENT
Submitted byAkanksha Dutta PRN: 12010123312 IIIrd Year Div. “D” B.A. L.L.B.
INTRODUCTION The law lexicon defines bail as the security for the appearance of the accused person on which he is released pending trial or investigation1. Bail is granted during the pendency of the trial or an appeal. Before bail is granted to the accused, a surety gives a guarantee to the Court that the accused will appear in the Court as and when required. A sum of money is to be deposited to ensure his appearance before the Court, which otherwise stands forfeit. An application for bail aims to "procure the release of a person from legal custody, by undertaking that he/she shall appear at the time and place designated and submit him/herself to the jurisdiction and judgment of the court."2 Under the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (Cr.P.C.), there is no definition of “bail”, but the terms bailable offence and non-bailable offence have been defined in section 2(a) Cr.P.C. as: "Bailable offence means an offence 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 offence means any other offence". Bail is a right that can be availed by accused of bailable offences, but for persons accused of non-bailable offences, they have to apply to a competent authority to procure bail on merit. Sections 436 to 450 of the Cr.P.C. set out the provisions for the grant of bail and bonds in criminal cases. 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. Thus, it is the discretion of the court to put a monetary cap on the bond. Under the Indian legal system, there exists a presumption of innocence until guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt. A bail hearing is not a hearing on the merits of the matter itself and does not go into the issue of guilt. Therefore granting of bail is the norm except in cases where specific grounds are made out based on which the bail can be refused. If there are reasonable grounds for believing that he has been guilty of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life then the person shall not be granted bail.
RAMANTH IYER, Law Lexicon, (3rd ed,2012) Black's Law Dictionary, 177 (4th ed.)
The topic of the essay, Anticipatory Bail is yet another of type of bail that accused may apply for. Anticipatory bail is applied for prior to arrest or detention by an authority, but in anticipation of the same. It is governed by s. 438 of the Cr.P.C. as amended by the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2005 (Act 25 of 2005) Under it an individual can seek or request to get bail in anticipation or in expectation of being named or accused of having committed a non-bailable offence by applying to the Sessions Court or High Court. EARLIER POSTION Anticipatory bail is a direction to release a person on bail, issued even before the person is arrested. Earlier section 438 read as: “438. Direction for grant of bail to person apprehending arrest. (1) When any person has reason to believe that he may be arrested on an accusation of having committed a nonbailable offence, he may apply to the High Court or the Court of Session for a direction under this Section; and that Court may, if it thinks fit, direct that in the event of such arrest, he shall be released on bail. (2) When the High Court or the Court of Session makes adirection under sub-section (1), it may include such conditions in such directions in the light of the facts of the particular case, as it may think fit, including – (i) a condition that the person shall make himself available for interrogation by a police officer as and when required; (ii) a condition that the person shall not, directly or indirectly, make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the Court or to any police officer; (iii) a condition that the person shall not leave India without the previous permission of the Court; (iv) such other condition as may be imposed under subsection (3) of Section 437, as if the bail were granted under that Section. (3) If such person is thereafter arrested without warrant by an officer-in-charge of a police station on such accusation, and is prepared either at the time of arrest or at any time while in
the custody of such officer to give bail, he shall be released on bail; and if a Magistrate taking cognizance of such offence decides that a warrant should issue in the first instance against that person, he shall issue a bailable warrant in conformity with the direction of the Court under subsection (1). Since its conception, the concept of Anticipatory Bail has been under judicial scrutiny. The landmark judgement on the subject is Gurubaksh Singh Sibbia v. State of Punjab3. The Supreme Court, reversed the Full Bench decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this case, which had given a restricted interpretation of the scope of Section 438, held that in the context of Article 21 of the Constitution, any statutory provision (Section 438) concerned with personal liberty could not be whittled down by reading restrictions and limitations into it. The SC sought to remove unnecessary restrictions when it came to bail provided under section 438. The Court also held that the conditions subject to which the bail can be granted under section 437(1) should not be read into Section 438. Section 438 (1) of the Code lays down a condition, which has to be satisfied before anticipatory bail can be granted. The applicant must show that he has “reason to believe’ that he may be arrested for a nonbailable offence. The use of the expression “reason to believe” shows that the belief that the applicant may be so arrested must be founded on reasonable grounds. Thirdly, the filing of a First Information Report is not a condition precedent to the exercise of the power under S. 438. The imminence of a likely arrest founded on a reasonable belief can be shown to exist even if an FIR is not yet file. Fourthly, anticipatory bail can be granted even after in FIR is filed, so long as the applicant has not been arrested. After arrest, the accused must seek his remedy under S. 437 or Section 439 of the Code, if he wants to be released on bail in respect of the offence or offenses for which he is arrested4:-
Gurubaksh Singh Sibbia v. State of Punjab (1980) 2SCC 565 Ibid, pg. 589-590
AMENDED PROVSION The Section had been considered faulty by a number of Law commissions and there were ongoing discussions on its amendment, finally it was amended in 2005 by the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2005 (Act 25 of 2005) tot the effect that5: (i) the power to grant anticipatory bail should be exercised by the Court of Session or the High Court only after taking into consideration certain factors; (ii) upon consideration of these factors, the Court will either reject the application or issue an interim order for the grant of anticipatory bail in the first instance; (iii) where the Court has rejected the application or has not passed any interim order, it will be open to the officer-in-charge of a Police Station to arrest the applicant, without warrant, on the basis of the accusation apprehended in the application for the grant of anticipatory bail; (iv) where the Court makes an interim order for the grant of interim bail, it will forthwith give a notice being not less than seven days’ notice to the Public Prosecutor and the Superintendent of the Police with a view to give them an opportunity of being heard when the application is finally heard; (v) the presence of the applicant seeking anticipatory bail will be obligatory at the time of final hearing of the application if the Court considers such presence necessary in the interest of justice on an application made by the Public Prosecutor for such presence. Again, in the case of Gurubaksh Singh Sibbia v. State of Punjab6 it was said that the High Court and the Court of Session must apply their mind with care and circumspection and determine whether the case for anticipatory bail is made out or not. No blanket order of anticipatory bail can be passed by any Court. It can be said that the amended Section merely seeks to formalize certain aspects that are otherwise being followed in practice without having been formally included in the Section. It needs to be borne in mind that legislation is a sphere which is seldom perfectly complete. There may be conditions and practices which escape formal translation into statutory laws but yet, they continue to influence the conduct of the organs of the State and their subjects. Such 5
LAW COMMISSION OF INDIA, Section 438 Of The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 As Amended By The Code Of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2005 (Anticipatory Bail), (Law Comm. Report 203, Dec 2007) 6 Gurubaksh Singh Sibbia v. State of Punjab (1980) 2SCC 565
conditions and/or practices may have been initiated in the first instance in individual cases based on sound reasons, logic and rationale. Even though the amended section 438 expounds upon the provisions required to be considered while granting anticipatory bail, the Supreme Court has given guidelines for the same in the year 2009. In the case of Savitri Agarwal and Others v. State of Maharashtra and Another,7 a Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court issued guidelines which the courts had to keep in mind while they decided upon the granting of anticipatory bail. Though the power conferred under Section 438 can be described to have extraordinary character, but this does not justify the presumption that the power must be exercised in only exceptional cases. Nonetheless, the discretion under the Section has to be exercised with due care and careful understanding of the case and examine it on its merits. Before power under sub-section (1) of Section 438 of the Code is exercised, the Court must be satisfied that the applicant invoking the provision has reason to believe that he is likely to be arrested for a non-bailable offence and that belief must be founded on reasonable grounds. Mere “fear” is not belief, for which reason, it is not enough for the applicant to show that he has some sort of vague apprehension that an accusation may be made against him/her that might lead to arrest. The court should be able to objectively examine the grounds on which the reasonable fear is based. Specific events and facts must be disclosed by the applicant in order to enable the Court to judge of the reasonableness of his belief, the existence of which is the sine qua non of the exercise of power conferred by the Section. The observations made in Balchand Jain v. State of Madhya Pradesh,8 regarding the nature of the power conferred by Section 438 and regarding the question whether the conditions mentioned in Section 437 should be read into Section 438 cannot be treated as conclusive on the point. There is no warrant for reading into Section 438, the conditions subject to which bail can be granted under Section 437(1) of the Code and therefore, anticipatory bail cannot be refused in respect of offences like criminal breach of trust for the mere reason that the punishment provided for is imprisonment for life. Circumstances may broadly justify the grant of bail in such cases too, though of course, the Court is free to refuse anticipatory bail in any case if there is material before it justifying such refusal.
Savitri Agarwal and Others v. State of Maharashtra and Another, AIR 2009 SC 373 Balchand Jain v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 1977 AIR 366
No blanket order of bail should be passed and the Court which grants anticipatory bail must take care to specify the offence or the offences in respect of which alone the order will be effective. While granting relief under Section 438(1) of the Code, appropriate conditions can be imposed under Section 438(2) to ensure uninterrupted investigation. One such condition can even be that in the event of the police making out a case of a likely discovery under Section 27 of the Evidence Act, the person released on bail shall be liable to be taken in police custody for facilitating the recovery. Otherwise, such an order can become a charter of lawlessness and a weapon to stifle prompt investigation into offences which could not possibly be predicated when the order was passed. It has also been observed that an interim bail order can be passed under Section 438 of the Code without notice to the Public Prosecutor but notice should be issued to the Public Prosecutor or to the Government advocate forthwith and the question of bail should be reexamined in the light of respective contentions of the parties. The ad-interim order too must conform to the requirements of the Section and suitable conditions
should be imposed on
the applicant even at that stage. Though it is not necessary that the operation of an order passed under Section 438(1) of the Code be limited in point of time but the Court may, if there are reasons for doing so, limit the operation of the order to a short period until after the filing of FIR in respect of the matter covered by the order. The applicant may, in such cases, be directed to obtain an order of bail under Section 437 or 439 of the Code within a reasonable short period after the filing of the FIR. The provision can be used favourably by those who have been falsely accused and have the knowledge that criminal allegations can be made on them and can approach the court for this remedy. The law on anticipatory bail is mostly clear cut and devoid of doubts, but in the case of anticipatory bail, which his mostly discretionary in nature, there cannot be any permanent principles as decisions are made on case to case basis
CANCELLATION OF ANTICIPATORY BAIL Anticipatory Bail granted by the High Court can only be cancelled by it and not by the Magistrate or the Session Judge.9 Normally, very cogent and overwhelming grounds or circumstances are required to cancel the bail already granted.10 1. An order granting anticipatory bail under section 438 or bail under section 439 (1) is amenable to appellate provisional scrutiny and may be cancelled if it was made in arbitrary or improper (and not judicial) exercise of the discretionary power or was made without application of mind or without consideration of all relevant circumstances or was based upon irrelevant considerations or was vitiated by any basic error of law or was otherwise perverse. 2. An order granting bail may be cancelled in case new of supervening circumstances arise after the release on bail such as abuse of the liberty by hampering the investigation or tampering with witnesses or by committing same or similar offence but existence of any supervening circumstance following the grant of anticipatory bail or bail is not he only criterion for cancelation of such bail.11 3. Although the discretionary power to cancel bail is extraordinary and is to be exercised sparingly, nevertheless, it is meant to be exercised in appropriate cases, however few those cases might be. 4. Order granting anticipatory bail or bail must not tantamount to interference with efficient exercise of statutory functions when dealing with economic offences such as those under the fear. 5. Advantage of custodial interrogation should be taken into account in granting anticipatory bail or bail. 6. Anticipatory bail may be cancelled under section 439(2) of Code of Criminal Procedure if the accused is found to be tampering with prosecution evidence.12 Very cogent and overwhelming circumstances are necessary for an order seeking cancelation of bail. 13 The
Bolai Mistry v. State, 1977 Cr.L.J. 492 (Cal) Mohant Chand Nath Yogi v. State of Haryana, AIR 2003 SC 18 11 A. K. Murumu v. Prasenjit Choudury, 199 Cr.LJ 3460 12 Jairam Tiwari v. State of Bihar, 1987 Cr.L.J. 1403 (Pat) 13 Rajan Mahajan v. State, 2002 Cr.L.J. 2433 (Del) 10
cancelation of anticipatory bail already granted can be ordered only when the accused has interfered with the course of justice by tampering with the evidence or has misused or abused his privilege.14 CONCLUSION As mentioned previously, anticipatory bail is a provision in favour of the liberty and freedom of people accused of crimes. While the courts have given detailed guidelines on application of the provision, but the same is not applied strictly in practise. Besides the above issue, the 203rd Law Commission Report too suggested certain recommendations one of which being that an explanation should be inserted clarifying that a final order on an application seeking direction under the section shall not be construed as an interlocutory order for the purposes of the Code In State of Rajasthan v. Bal Chand15, Justice Krishna Iyer observed: “The basic rule may perhaps be tersely put as 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 Court.” The practical problem of anticipatory bail is that it is often observed especially in the case of influential accused that despite conditions that prohibit any intimidation and harassment of the victim the accused or his/her representatives attempt to do the same. Besides that, any power that is based on discretion will always have the suspicion of an element of ambiguity and the chance of arbitrariness. The factors for consideration in dealing with anticipatory bail applications as are now mentioned in the new Section are only illustrative in nature and the same, along with other relevant factors are indeed being taken into consideration while making final orders on such applications in spite of the fact that these have not been expressly incorporated in the pre-amended Section. Just as in the case of discretion when it comes to the choice between life imprisonment and the death penalty, the decision emanating from such an exercise of discretionary power shall always be circumspect. . 14 15
Vishwanath Tiwari v. State, 1988 Cr.L.J. 333 (Pat) State of Rajasthan v. Bal Chand, AIR 1977 SC 2447
REFERNCES Case Laws 1. State of Rajasthan v. Bal Chand, AIR 1977 SC 2447 2. Savitri Agarwal and Others v. State of Maharashtra and Another, AIR 2009 SC 373 3. Balchand Jain v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 1977 AIR 366 4. Gurubaksh Singh Sibbia v. State of Punjab (1980) 2SCC 565 5. Bolai Mistry v. State, 1977 Cr.L.J. 492 (Cal) 6. Mohant Chand Nath Yogi v. State of Haryana, AIR 2003 SC 18 7. A. K. Murumu v. Prasenjit Choudury, 199 Cr.LJ 3460 8. Jairam Tiwari v. State of Bihar, 1987 Cr.L.J. 1403 (Pat) 9. Rajan Mahajan v. State, 2002 Cr.L.J. 2433 (Del) Legislations and Bills 1.
The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
The Code Of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2005
Books, Reports 1. RAMANTH IYER, Law Lexicon, (3rd ed,2012) 2. Black's Law Dictionary, 177 (4th ed.) 3. R.V. KELKAR, Criminal Procedure,(5th ed. 2008) 4. RATANLAL & DHIRAJLAL, The Code of Criminal Procedure, (19th ed. 2013) 5. LAW COMMISSION OF INDIA, Section 438 Of The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973, As Amended By The Code Of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2005 (Anticipatory Bail), (Law Comm. Report 203, Dec 2007)