New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government is contemplating a comprehensive Bail Act that aims to clearly define the conditions for grant of relief to accused persons so that little is left to the discretion of the courts.
Suggesting statutory norms for the grant of bail, Union law minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda said, “All is not well with the way cases relating to grant of bail are being handled”, and while those with resources can get relief, “the poorer lot languish in jails”.
In an internal note to the law secretary, the minister has proposed examining the desirability of having a separate Bail Act and a ‘major revamp’ of the bail system. Law secretary P.K. Malhotra referred the matter to the Law Commission, asking it to submit a report in six months.
At present, several CrPC sections deal with the grant of bail, but a lot of discretionary power is vested in the courts. The Supreme Court has observed that bail, not jail, is the rule.
The law minister said though the judiciary adopts a very elaborate procedure to deal with bail matters, still the system has the general perception among people that grant or denial is highly unpredictable.
The bail system is linked inextricably to property and financial well-being of the accused. He noted that though grant of bail is a uniform and reasonable provision in theory, “in practice it does not prove to be so”.
He said the bail system as practised in India may have to be studied in detail and a major revamp brought in. Law minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda said bail should be granted as a matter of right and it should only be denied if there is a fear that the accused can tamper with evidence, influence witnesses or commit more crimes while out of jail.