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General Studies 2 >> Polity




1. Context

The Supreme Court  agreed to hear a petition filed by the Karnataka Lokayukta, a state body empowered to deal with corruption complaints against public servants, challenging a Karnataka High Court order granting prearrest bail to the BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa, who was also serving as the chairman of the Public Sector Undertaking Karnataka Soaps and Detergents
Limited (KSDL). 

2. What is pre-arrest bail?

  • Black’s Law Dictionary describes ‘bail’ as procuring “the release of a person from legal custody, by undertaking that he shall appear at the time and place designated and submit himself to the jurisdiction and judgment of the court.”
  • Although “bail” has not been expressly defined in Indian statutes, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) differentiates between “bailable” and “non-bailable” offenses.
  • It also defines three kinds of bail that can be granted regular bail under Sections 437 and 439; interim bail or short-term bail which is given when regular or anticipatory bail application is pending before the court; and anticipatory or prearrest bail.
  • The provision for “anticipatory bail” was introduced under Section 438 of the CrPC after the 41st Law Commission Report in 1969 recommended the need for a measure that protects against arbitrary violation of one’s personal liberty, such as when politicians detain their opponents in false cases.

3. When can anticipatory bail be granted?

  • Anticipatory bail can be granted under Section 438, when “any person has reason to believe that he may be arrested on an accusation of having committed a nonbailable offense”.
  • It can be granted by the High Court or the Court of Session, under this section, for non-bailable offenses for which one anticipates arrest, even if the actual arrest has not happened or the FIR has not been registered.
  • Non-bailable offenses are more serious offenses, punishable with at least three years imprisonment and above.
  • Section 438 was amended in 2005, following which it laid down principles for consideration for the grant of anticipatory bail under subsection such as whether the accused is likely to flee, is a habitual offender, or is likely to tamper with evidence along with his antecedents, such as previously being arrested for a cognizable offense.
  • However, since state legislatures are empowered to amend certain provisions of the CrPC, Maharashtra, Odisha and West Bengal follow their own, modified versions of Section 438.
  • Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand did away with anticipatory bail through the CrPC (UP Amendment) Bill, 1976, during the Emergency. 
  • In 2019, however, this was reintroduced after then President Ram Nath Kovind approved the CrPC (Uttar Pradesh Amendment) Bill, 2018. 
  • Similarly, in 2019, the Uttarakhand Assembly passed an amendment Bill seeking to revive Section 438 of the CrPC.

4. What are the conditions for granting anticipatory bail?

While granting anticipatory bail, the Sessions Court or High Court can impose the conditions laid down in sub-section (2) like,
  • The person shall make himself available for interrogation by a police officer as and when required.
  • The person cannot make any inducement, threat, or promise, directly or indirectly, to any person acquainted with the facts of the case to dissuade him from disclosing them to the court or the police.
  • The person shall not leave India without the previous permission of the court.
  • Such other conditions may be imposed under sub-section (3) of section 437 “as if the bail were granted under that section”. 

5. Types of Bails in India

  • Regular Bail: It is a direction given by the Court (any Court within the country) to release a person who is already under arrest and kept in police custody. For such Bail, a person can file an application under Sections 437 and 439 of the CrPC.
  • Interim Bail: Bail granted for a temporary and short period by the Court till the application seeking Anticipatory Bail or Regular Bail is pending before a Court.
  • Anticipatory Bail: A direction issued to release a person on Bail even before the person is arrested. In this situation, there is an apprehension of arrest and the person is not arrested before the Bail is granted. For such Bail, a person can file an application under Sec. 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). It is issued only by the Sessions Court and High Court.

6. Significance of Anticipatory Bail

  • The reason for the enactment of section 438 in the code was the parliamentary acceptance of the crucial underpinning of personal liberty in a free and democratic country.
  • Parliament wished to foster respect for personal liberty and accord primacy to a fundamental tenet of criminal jurisprudence, that everyone is presumed to be innocent till he or she is found guilty.
  • Life and liberty are the cherished attributes of every individual. The urge for freedom is natural to each human being.
  • In the 1980 Gurbaksh Singh Sibba vs State of Punjab case, a five-judge Supreme court bench led by then Chief Justice Y V Chandrachud ruled that section 438 (1) is to be interpreted in the light of Article 21 of the constitution (Protection of life and personal liberty).

Previous year Questions

1. With reference to India, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2021)
1. When a prisoner makes out a sufficient case, parole cannot be denied to such prisoner because it becomes a matter of his/her right.
2. State Governments have their own Prisoners Release on Parole Rules.
which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 only                B. 2 only                  C. Both 1 and 2                D. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: B
For Prelims & Mains
For Prelims: Anticipatory bail, Regular Bial, Interim Bail, Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), Indian Penal Code (IPC), 41st Law Commission Report in 1969, Sections 437 and 439 of the CrPC, High court, Supreme Court, and Article 21.
For Mains: 1. What is Anticipatory Bail? Discuss the conditions for granting Anticipatory Bail.
Source: The Indian Express

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