Report No. 135
5.3. Section 4: release on probation of good conduct.-
A wider power is conferred by section 4 of the probation of Offenders Act, 1958. Section 4 confers on the court power to release an offender on probation of good conduct, if such person is found guilty of an offence "not punishable with death or imprisonment for life", and if the convicting court is of opinion that, having regard to the circumstances of the case, including the nature of the offence and the character of the offender, it is expedient to release him on probation of good conduct.
The release is to be ordered on the offender entering into a bond, with or without sureties, to appear and receive sentence when called upon during such period, not exceeding three years, as the court may direct, and, in the meantime, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
The offender must have a fixed place of abode within the jurisdiction of the court, or he must have such a place of abode or place of regular occupation in which he is likely to live during the period of the bond. Before making such order, the court is to take into consideration the report, if any, of the probation officer concerned, in relation to the case. The release order may be accompanied, if the Court so decides, by a supervision order. In such a case, the offender remains under the supervision of a probation officer named in the order.
There is no restriction as to age or sex of the offender in this section also, provided the other conditions of the section are satisfied. The offence must not be punishable really intended to mean "not punishable with death or with imprisonment for life". In other words, the section excludes not only-(i) capital offences, but also (ii) offences for which the punishment; or one of the punishments provided, is imprisonment for life.