Bail, in law, is used for the release of a person charged with an offence, on his providing a security that will ensure his presence before the court or any other authority whenever required. Security could be cash or property papers giving title to property. The security stands confiscated if the person providing security fails to make an appearance in the court of law which requires him to be present.
The Chief Justice and the Judges of the High Court of Bombay amended the Criminal Manual, 1980 by a notification dated 29th July, 2010 with respect to the procedure for availing bail in the state of Maharashtra. The six stringent bail conditions stated in the said notification were challenged by way of a Public Interest Litigation ("PIL").
However, nine years after the filing of the PIL, the High Court of Bombay dismissed the same "for want of empirical data". The division bench of Justices Ranjit More and SP Tavde on 29th January 2020, observed, "Till date from January 10, 2013, the petitioner has not placed on record any material in support of the challenge to the notification impugned in the PIL. The petitioner has also not placed on record any empirical data or official record to entertain the grievance or challenge to the notification."
The adding of the new stringent conditions was because of a large number of accused who abscond after being released on bail. The six conditions for availing bail are as follows:
- Every accused before being released on bail shall submit a list of at least 3 blood relatives with their detail residential addresses and also the addresses of their place of work, if any. Accused shall also produce documentary proof evidencing the correctness of details produced by him.
- It shall be mandatory for every accused and every surety as a condition for grant of bail that, both the accused and the surety must necessarily inform the police authorities as well as the Court granting the bail the change of their residential address while the accused is on bail. The change of residential address should be immediately intimated either by the accused or by the surety as the case may be or by both.
- In case of offences involving financial transactions, if an accused is released on bail, the amount of such bail shall be fixed having regard to the amount of money involved in the crime or the case pending before the Court. While determining such amount of bail, status of the accused his past conduct and antecedents should also be considered, with a view to ensure that the accused will not venture to jump bail.
- Alongwith every bail application, the accused shall submit copies of at least two documents amongst the following:
- Bank Passbook
- Credit Card with photograph
- Ration card
- Electricity bill
- Landline telephone bill
- Voter ID card issued by the Election Commission of India.
- Property Tax Register
- After submission of these two documents, the concerned police station shall conduct physical verification of the residential address so as to confirm the address appearing on these documents and place before the court, a certificate to that effect under the signature of the Station House Officer.
- Accused released on bail shall report once a week to the concerned police and once in a month to the court granting the bail. Accused shall report once in three months to the concerned police station and to the trial Court during the pendency of the trial after the charge sheet is filed.
- Whenever the accused is re-arrested after he has absconded or whenever the accused was arrested after warrant was issued due to his non-appearance, pursuant to the summons, he shall not be released on bail unless there are special reasons recorded by the court empowered to grant bail.
Although the raison d'etre of the new conditions are justified, conditions such as attendance every week will be impractical.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.