Law panel mulls easier bail rules for the poor

The law ministry, which is considering bringing a stand-alone legislation on the Bail Act to limit the discretion of courts, has already referred the matter to the Law Commission.

Acknowledging that the poor face difficulty in getting bail in the present justice delivery system for want of legal assistance and money, Law Commission chairman Justice B S Chauhan has said the panel may recommend guidelines for judges on grant of bail.

“My experience as a lawyer and a judge has been that it is the discretion of the court depending upon the facts of a case…court makes up its mind in half-a-second on whether bail should be granted or not… whether it is a fit case for bail or not,” the chairman of the 21st Law Commission told PTI.

The law ministry, which is considering bringing a stand-alone legislation on the Bail Act to limit the discretion of courts, has already referred the matter to the Law Commission.

Speaking about the difficulties the undertrials belonging to poor sections face on getting bail, Justice Chauhan said: “Sometimes they cannot even bring the surety. Even if the court grants them bail, they cannot go out. We can suggest something only on these lines.”

He said some suggestions may be made on “how to reduce the surety amount and in what condition it can be reduced.”

He, however, said while a poor man must get bail, there should be means to ensure that his presence in court on a future date is “secured”. The panel would study laws of other countries before coming up with recommendations. “There must be some guarantee of his presence in the court in the future, otherwise people will get bail and disappear. This will also create a problem. So, to make bail easy is not a solution to the problem.