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Supreme Court issues guidelines for grant of bail to the accused for the benefit of the Courts

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Thursday, Supreme Court has issued guidelines for grant of bail to the accused who has not been arrested during the investigation and Cooperated throughout in the investigation.

The bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh, observing the unanimity in terms of the suggestions made by learned Additional Solicitor General (ASG) and Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra, issued guidelines for granting bail to the accused for the benefit of the Court.

The guidelines have been issued by categorizing offences into 4 category, it also mention the requisites.

Categories

A) The offences which are punishable with imprisonment up to 7 years and also not falling in category B & D.

B) The offences which are punishable with death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment for more than 7 years.

C) The offences punishable under Special Acts containing stringent provisions for bail like NDPS (S.37), PMLA (S.45), UAPA (S.43D(5), Companies Act, 212(6), POCSO Act etc.

D) Economic offences not covered by Special Acts.

(The said categories are written here in a manner understandable to the common audience, refer the attached copy of judgement for detailed order)

Requisite Conditions

It has two requisite conditions that, a) The accused has not been arrested during the investigation; b) and has cooperated throughout in the investigation including appearing before Investigating Officer whenever called. (The terms are written here in a manner understandable to the common audience)

Guidelines for Category (A) Offences

The category A deals with both police cases and complaint cases. It also has provisions for issuance of warrants and cancellation of warrants.

After filing of chargesheet or complaint taking of cognizance:

a) Issuance of “Ordinary summons” to the accused at the first instance and it also permits the accused person for appear through Lawyer.
b) Issuance of bailable warrant for physical presence, in case the accused does not appear despite of service of summons
c) Issuance of non-bailable warrant (NBW) if the accused person does not appear even after the issuance of bailable warrant.
d) NBW may be canceled or converted into a bailable warrant or summons, if the accused undertakes to appear physically.
e) Bail applications of such accused on appearance may be decided w/o the accused being taken in physical custody or by granting interim bail till the bail application is decided.

The said guidelines are written here in a manner understandable to the common audience.

Guidelines for Category (B and D) Offences

The bail application of the accused falling under the said category will be decided on merit upon appearance of the accused in Court.

Guidelines for Category (C) Offences

In the said category of offences, the accused has to appear in court for the bail which will be be decided on merit (as in category B and D), additionally, the specific provisions for granting bail of the act under which the person has been made an accused shall also be considered for grant of bail.

Guidelines for Category (D) Offences

The bench referred the observations made in Sanjay Chandra vs.CBI case, which talks about the “seriousness of the charge” and “severity of punishment”.

“Thus, it is not as if economic offences are completely taken out of the aforesaid guidelines but do form a different nature of offences and thus the seriousness of the charge has to be taken into account but simultaneously, the severity of the punishment imposed by the statute would also be a factor.”, the bench said in order

The Bench

The bench also observed that, the said guidelines will not give benefit to the person who has not complied with the requisite conditions.

“where the accused have not cooperated in the investigation nor appeared before the Investigating Officers, nor answered summons when the Court feels that judicial custody of the accused is necessary for the completion of the trial, where further investigation including a possible recovery is needed, the aforesaid approach cannot give them benefit, something we agree with.”

The bench also considered the aspect submitted by Mr. Luthra that “the trial Court is not precluded from granting interim bail taking into consideration the conduct of the accused during the investigation which has not warranted arrest”.

“the bail application to be ultimately considered, would be guided by the statutory provisions.”

in the order

The bench disposed the matter and also directed to circulate the order of the Registrars of the different High Courts to be further circulated to the trial Courts so that the unnecessary bail matters do not come up to this Court.

This is the only purpose for which we have issued these guidelines, but they are not fettered on the powers of the Courts.

in the order

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