Report No. 268
Chapter - II
International standards on bail and its constitutional manifestations
2.1 The concept of bail has been recognized in the various international covenants and instruments upholding human values. Article 9(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 196612(hereinafter ICCPR) states that the general rule shall not be detention in custody of persons awaiting trial and release may be conditioned on the guarantees to appear at the trial. Similarly, Article 10 (2) (a) of ICCPR also refers to the same principle as it states that accused must not receive same treatment as a convict13 Above all, Article 14 (2) cardinally provides for the presumption of innocence until proven guilty as an axiomatic principle of law.
This principle imposes on the prosecution the burden of proving the charge, ensures that the accused has the benefit of doubt and obliges public authorities to refrain from prejudging trial outcome. It shifts the burden of proof on the prosecution and postulates for an unbiased trial.14
2.2 The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) observed in their Report15 that indigent and socially vulnerable groups of populations are disproportionately affected where bail is discretionary.16
2.3 Research on the subject has indicated that defendants who are granted bail have significantly better/ higher chances to obtain an acquittal than those detained pending trial. Further, the data analyzed from the NRCB reflects that the existing norms of grant or refusal of bail in India have close nexus with the economic well-being and literacy standards.17 However, principles such as presumption of innocence; right to non-discrimination; right to liberty from arbitrary detention and right to speedy and fair trial - serve as the benchmark for the State and various authorities.