Bail

Bail is a set of pre-trial restrictions that are imposed on a suspect to ensure that they will not hamper the judicial process. Bail is the conditional release of a defendant with the promise to appear in court when required.[1] In some countries, especially the United States and Canada, bail usually implies a bail bond, a deposit of money or some form of property to the court by the suspect in return for the release from pre-trial detention. If the suspect does not return to court, the bail is forfeited and the suspect may possibly be brought up on charges of the crime of failure to appear. If the suspect returns to make all their required appearances, bail is returned after the trial is concluded.

In other countries, such as the United Kingdom, bail is more likely to consist of a set of restrictions that the suspect will have to abide by for a set period of time. Under this usage, bail can be given both before and after charge.

For minor crimes, a defendant may be summoned to court without the need for bail. For serious crimes, or for suspects who are deemed likely to fail to turn up in court, they may be remanded (detained) while awaiting trial. A suspect is given bail in cases where remand is not justified but there is a need to provide an incentive for the suspect to appear in court. Bail amounts may vary depending on the type and severity of crime the suspect is accused of; practices for determining bail amounts vary.

Indian law stresses the principles of presumption of innocence. The principle embodies freedom from arbitrary detention and serves as a bulwark against punishment before conviction. More importantly, it prevents the State from successfully employing its vast resources to cause greater damage to an un-convicted accused than he/she can inflict on society. While considering bail applications of the accused, courts are required to balance considerations of personal liberty with public interest. Accordingly, the granting of bail should be the rule rather than the exception. The Supreme Court has laid down in its judgements, “Personal liberty, deprived when bail is refused, is too precious a value of our constitutional system recognized under Article 21 that the crucial power to negate it is a great trust exercisable, not casually but judicially, with lively concern for the cost to the individual and community. To glamorize impressionistic orders as discretionary may, on occasions, make a litigation gamble decisive of a fundamental right. After all, the personal liberty of an accused or convict is fundamental, suffering lawful eclipse only in terms of procedure established by law.” The courts have also held that foreign nationals cannot be deprived of the right to seek bail. The Delhi High Court observed, “Law does not permit any differentiation between Indian Nationals and Foreign citizens in the matter of granting bail. What is permissible is that, considering the facts and circumstances of each case, the court can impose different conditions which are necessary to ensure that the accused will be available for facing the trial. It cannot be said that an accused will not be granted bail because he is a foreign national.”

 

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