Report No. 268
12.1 The existing system of bail in India is inadequate and inefficient to accomplish its purpose. Grotesque crime involving extreme violence is on the rise throughout the country. Murder has increased by 250 percent, rape by 873 percent and kidnapping and abduction by 749 percent since 1953. In the backdrop of increasing crime rates, insufficient infrastructure, lack of modernization of investigative machinery and various other challenges, bail system cannot be fashioned into a panacea to ensure a responsive criminal justice system in India. It is indeed a small step in the direction to re-calibrate the bail provisions in the Cr.P.C to make them more be-fitting the times and situations the Society face today and are likely to face in near future.
12.2 The present report is a modest attempt to highlight the varied inconsistencies in the standards of bail by providing principles and suggesting amendments in exercising the powers to grant or deny bail. It is possible to find agreement on a few core principles relevant to bail practices, namely:
- The practices must be fair and evidence based. Decisions about custody or release should not be influenced to the detriment of the person accused of an offence by factors such as gender, race, ethnicity, financial conditions or social status.
- The practices should address two key goals: (1) protecting against the risk that the accused fails to appear on the scheduled date; and (2) protecting against risks to the safety of specific person/s or the community.
- Unnecessary pre-trial confinement should be minimized. Confinement is detrimental to the person accused of an offence who is kept in custody, imposes unproductive burden on the State, and can have an adverse impact on future criminal behaviour, and its reformative perspectives will stand diminished.
12.3 The principles discussed in Report are articulated in the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, attached herewith as 'Annexure-A'. The list of relevant rules from the Delhi High Court is at Annexure-B. The summary of the consultations with various stakeholders is attached as 'Annexure-C'.