BAIL - HISTORY AND OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
definition of bail :
"Bail" remains an undefined term in the Cr.P.C. Nowhere else the term has been statutorily defined. Conceptually, it continues to be understood as a right for assertion of freedom against the State imposing restraints since the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, to which Indian is a signatory, the concept of bail has found a place within the scope of human rights. The dictionary meaning of the expression `bail' denotes a security for appearance of a prisoner for his release. Etymologically, the word is derived from an old French verb `bailer' which means to `give' or `to deliver', although another view is that its derivation is from the Latin term baiulare, meaning `to bear a burden'. Bail is a conditional liberty.
Strouds' Judicial Dictionary (Fourth Edition 1971) spells out certain other details. It states:
"When a man is taken or arrested for felony, suspicion of felony, indicated of felony, or any such case, so that he is restrained of his liberty - And being by law bailable, offence surety to those which have authority to bail him, which sureties are bound for him to the Kings use in a certain sums of money, or body for body, that he shall appear before the Justices of Goale delivery at the next sessions etc. Then upon the bonds of these sureties, as is aforesaid, he is bailed, that is to say, set at liberty until the day appointed for his appearance."
Bail may thus be regarded as a mechanism whereby the State devolutes upon the community the function of securing the presence of the prisoners, and at the same time involves participation of the community in administration of justice.
OBJECT OF BAIL - In bail applications, generally, it has been laid down from the earliest times that the object of bail is to secure the appearance of the accused person at his trial by reasonable amount of bail. The object of bail is neither punitive nor preventative. Deprivation of liberty must be considered a punishment, unless it can be required to ensure that an accused person will stand his trial when called upon.
The courts owe more than verbal respect to the principle that punishment begins after conviction, and that every man is deemed to be innocent until duly tried and duly found guilty.
From the earliest times, it was appreciated that detention in custody pending completion of trial could be a cause of great hardship. From time to time, necessity demands that some un-convicted persons should be held in custody pending trial to secure their attendance at the trial but in such cases, `necessity' is the operative test.
In this country, it would be quite contrary to the concept of personal liberty enshrined in the Constitution that any person should be punished in respect of any matter, upon which, he has not been convicted or that in any circumstances, he should be deprived of his liberty upon only the belief that he will tamper with the witnesses if left at liberty, save in the most extraordinary circumstances. Apart from the question of prevention being the object of a refusal of bail, one must not lose sight of the fact that any imprisonment before conviction has a substantial punitive content and it would be improper for any Court to refuse bail as a mark of disapproval of former conduct whether the accused has been convicted for it or not or to refuse bail to an un-convicted person for the purpose of giving him a taste of imprisonment as a lesson.
Bail has to dovetail between two conflicting demands , at one side it requires the society being shielded from hazards of being exposed to the misadventures of the accused person and on the other , the fundamental canon of criminal jurisprudence viz . "a person is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty". Bail blends and balances the two apparently conflicting claims - freedom of individual and interest of justice. General rule is , grant of bail is the norm and the refusal is the exception.