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Interim bail concept under BNSS (Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita), New Criminal Laws

Concept of Bail


Section 2(b) of Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 (BNSS) defines “bail” as release of a person accused of or suspected of commission of an offence from the custody of law upon certain conditions imposed by police officer or Court on execution by such person of a bond or a bail bond;


Black’s Law Dictionary describes bail as a form of security, typically money or bond, required by a court for the release of a prisoner who must appear at a later date.


The Supreme Court, in Kamlapati v. State of West Bengal (1978), defined bail as a mechanism aiming to harmonize the right to personal freedom for the accused with the public interest, conditional on the accused appearing in court for trial.


In essence, "bail" denotes the release of an individual from legal custody, with the legal policy favoring its allowance rather than prohibition.


The norm is to grant bail, making rejection an exception, as emphasized in the Satender Kumar Antil v. Central Bureau of Investigation (2022) case.


Characteristics of Interim Bail:


Interim bail, by nature, is transient, granted for a brief period while an application for anticipatory or regular bail is under the court's scrutiny. The accused, initially taken into custody without a warrant, may face re-arrest once the interim bail term expires.


Grounds for Granting Interim Bail:


The Hon'ble Delhi High Court, in the landmark case of Parminder Singh and Ors. v. The State of Punjab (2001), delineated specific grounds for granting interim bail. These include the assurance that the accused won't evade prosecution, tamper with evidence or threaten the witnesses or victim during the operation of interim bail.


Conditions for Granting Interim Bail:


General conditions for granting interim bail include a bail bond with two sureties, cooperation with questioning and investigation, and restrictions on interference with witnesses or media interactions about the case. Specific conditions, outlined in Section 482(2) BNSS, empower the court to impose limitations on interactions with witnesses, mandate personal appearance for police interrogation, prohibit threats, and require court consent before leaving the country.


Case laws decided in the CRPC and IPC regime which make the concept of Interim bail clearer:


1. Sukhwant Singh & Ors Vs State of Punjab:


In this case, the Supreme Court emphasized that interim bail serves as a protective measure for an accused's reputation.


The Court acknowledged the inherent power to grant interim bail, highlighting the court's role in safeguarding an individual's liberty until the final disposition of the bail application.


2. Lal Kamlendra Pratap Singh Vs State of U.P. and Ors. (2009)


The Supreme Court, in this case recognized that interim bail acts as a shield, preserving an individual's liberty until the adjudication of the final bail application. The Court stressed the inherent authority of judges to grant interim bail to prevent irreparable damage to a person's reputation.


3. Parminder Singh and Ors. v. The State


The Delhi High Court, in cases with pending anticipatory bail applications, affirmed the significance of interim protection. It layed down that if no likelihood of fleeing from justice or tampering with evidence exists, interim protection should be provided to the accused.


4. Gudikanti Narasimhulu v. Public Prosecutor, High Court of A.P.


The Supreme Court, in a landmark ruling, emphasized that the discretion to grant bail must be governed by sound legal principles rather than whims an fancies of the court.


5. Niranjan Singh Vs Prabhakar Rajaram Kharota and Gurbaksh Singh Vs State of Punjab


The Supreme Court clarified that anticipatory bail can only be granted when the applicant has not been arrested.


6. Rukmani Mahato v. State of Jharkhand


This case highlighted the potential abuse of interim bail by subordinate courts. The Supreme Court expressed concern over the practice of granting regular bail based on superior court's interim bail orders, rendering the subsequent rejection of anticipatory bail meaningless.


7. Sharjeel Imam vs. The State of NCT of Delhi (2020)


In this case, it was held that that the denial of regular bail does not automatically preclude the consideration of an interim bail request.


8. Priya Ranjan vs. State of Odisha (2021)


Illustrating the compassionate aspect of interim bail, this case granted temporary release to the petitioner to officiate at his mother's funeral. The court considered the urgency of the situation and the humanitarian grounds presented by the petitioner.


Watch JudiX’s 1 minute video lecture on Bail by Court of Sessions and High Court & Bail by Magistrate under BNSS

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Interim Bail and its Legal Foundations


Q1: What is the legal definition of "bail"?

A1: According to Section 2(b) of Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 (BNSS), "bail" refers to the release of a person accused or suspected of committing an offense from law custody under specified conditions upon execution of a bond or bail bond.


Q2: How does Black's Law Dictionary define "bail"?

A2: Black's Law Dictionary describes "bail" as a form of security, typically money or bond, required by a court for the release of a prisoner who must appear at a later date.


Q3: How did the Supreme Court define "bail" in the Kamlapati v. State of West Bengal (1978) case?

A3: The Supreme Court, in the mentioned case, defined bail as a mechanism aiming to harmonize the right to personal freedom for the accused with the public interest, conditional on the accused appearing in court for trial.


Q4: Is the norm to grant or reject bail?

A4: The norm is to grant bail, with rejection being the exception. This principle was emphasized in the Satender Kumar Antil v. Central Bureau of Investigation (2022) case.


Q5: What legal provisions govern interim bail in India?

A5: The crux of interim bail lies in Section 482 of the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), granting discretionary powers to High Court and Sessions Court to grant anticipatory bail, including interim orders while a formal application is pending.


Q6: How does one initiate the process for anticipatory or interim bail under the BNSS?

A6: Section 482(1) BNSS allows individuals foreseeing arrest due to criminal charges to file a petition with the High Court or Sessions Court, triggering a meticulous review process. The court exercises discretion to approve or reject the plea.


Q7: What conditions are imposed when granting anticipatory or interim bail under the BNSS?

A7: Conditions include accessibility for questioning, refraining from coercion, staying within India, and adherence to restrictions outlined in Section 480(3) BNSS.


Q8: How does Section 482(3) BNSS ensure swift justice?

A8: Section 482(3) BNSS stipulates that upon approval of the application, an individual arrested without a warrant is immediately released on bail. Subsequent warrants must also be bailable, aligning with constitutional safeguards.


Q9: What are the characteristics of interim bail?

A9: Interim bail is transient, granted for a brief period while an application for anticipatory or regular bail is under scrutiny. The accused may face re-arrest once the interim bail term expires.


Q10: What are the grounds for granting interim bail?

A10: Specific grounds, as outlined in Parminder Singh and Ors. v. The State of Punjab (2001), include assurance that the accused won't evade prosecution, tamper with evidence, necessitate confined interrogation, and require a postponement of the anticipatory bail hearing.


Q11: Are there specific conditions imposed when granting interim bail?

A11: Yes, general conditions include a bail bond with two sureties, cooperation with questioning and investigation, and restrictions on interference with witnesses or media interactions. Specific conditions, outlined in Section 482(2) BNSS, may include limitations on interactions with witnesses, mandates for personal appearance, and restrictions on leaving the country.


Q12: Can you provide examples of landmark cases shaping the concept of interim bail in India?

A12: Certainly. Cases such as Sukhwant Singh & Ors Vs State of Punjab, Lal Kamlendra Pratap Singh Vs State of U.P., Parminder Singh and Ors. v. The State, and others have played pivotal roles in shaping the understanding and application of interim bail.


Q13: How does the legal system address potential abuses of interim bail?

A13: Cases like Rukmani Mahato v. State of Jharkhand highlight concerns over the abuse of interim bail, with the legal system addressing such issues by condemning practices that render subsequent bail orders meaningless.


Q14: Can interim bail be granted based on humanitarian grounds?

A14: Yes, cases like Atik Ansari vs. The State, NCT Delhi (2006) and Poonam Rani vs. the State of Haryana (2012) illustrate instances where interim bail was granted based on health or humanitarian considerations.


Q15: How does the legal system ensure a balance between an individual's right to liberty and public interest when granting bail?

A15: The legal system aims to harmonize an individual's right to personal freedom with public interest. Bail is granted with conditions to ensure the accused appears for trial, striking a delicate balance between individual rights and societal interests.


Interim bail concept under BNSS (Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita), New Criminal Laws



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