Change of mindset needed in lower judiciary to encourage bail, not jail for accused: SC

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Recently the Supreme Court has underlined the need for a change in mindset in the lower judiciary to promote bail instead of jail to the accused.

The Supreme Court has expressed concern over the reluctance of lower courts to grant relief despite various directions to encourage bail.

An estimated 70% of prisoners in India are under-trial. This has resulted in problems such as overcrowding in prisons, medical delays, unhygienic conditions and malnutrition.

The SC said that when the accused is cooperating in the investigation, the arrest should not be made in a routine manner.

SC had issued guidelines for different categories of offenses in the month of October.

New Points of Change:

  1. Punishable with imprisonment for seven years or less

While presenting the charge sheet, ordinary summons should be issued to the accused through advocate to appear. In the absence of production, first a bailable warrant should be issued and then a non-bailable warrant should be issued.

  1. Punishable with death, imprisonment for life, or imprisonment for a term exceeding seven years.

The decision on the bail application will be based on the ability of the accused to appear in the court.

  1. For bail punishable under special Acts with stringent provisions like NDPS, PMLA, UAPA etc.

Same as Category B and D with the additional condition of compliance with the provisions of bail under specific laws.

  1. Economic offenses not covered by Special Acts.

The decision of the bail application will be based on the merit of the accused on his appearance in the court.

Source – The Hindu

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