‘Not Half, Make It 1/3rd Of Max Sentence For Crime’
Law Commission is ready to submit a set of recommendations to the Centre intended to bring in revolutionary changes in the bail jurisprudence which if implemented would help release of poor among over 2,38,000 undertrial prisoners who’ve been in jails for years.
Commission’s report on the amendments to the bail provisions has been finalized & radical recommendations, if accepted by the govt. & implemented, would make true the Apex Court’s 40 year old ruling in the State of Rajasthan v. Balchand case in which Justice Krishna Iyer had said in September 1977, “The basic rule may perhaps be tersely put as bail not jail.”
The Law Commission, headed by Justice BS Chauhan, examined the Section 436A of the CrPC, which provides that an undertrial accused of offences that attract a max. imprisonment of 7 years, should be released on serving 1/2 the sentence. The Law panel recommends that the period of incarceration should be reduced to 1/3rd of the max. punishment.
This means, if an undertrial is accused of an offence attracting a max. 6 year imprisonment, he’d be released on bail after 2 years in jail.
However, for other offences, which attract a max. jail sentence of more than 7 years, excluding those punishable with death, an undertrial should be released on serving half the max. sentence, Law Commission sources said.
Law commission also suggests that the High Courts must frame rules making it mandatory for all the trial courts to hear the bail applications of the accused within 1 week of their filing.
Urgency in deciding the bail applications was recently stressed by the Supreme Court’s social justice bench of Justice Madan B Lokur & Justice UU Lalit, which found that huge no. of poor undertrials continue to be lodged in jails despite getting bail because they are not able to furnish the bail bonds with sureties. The Supreme Court had said that, “Poverty can’t be a ground to keep in custody an accused who’s unable to furnish bail bond.”
Law commission suggests that in case an accused is granted bail but is not able to furnish sureties within 30 days & moves an application for varying the bail conditions, trial court must hear this application expeditiously & pass appropriate orders.
However, the law commission is of the view that those who’re accused of the economic offences may not be shown same leniency.
Source - PTI