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Supreme Court’s contradictory verdicts reinforce the need for a Bail Act

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Indian Judiciary


Source: Indian Express

Direction: It is a legal article. No need to go in-depth, just know the issue.


  • Recently, SC (in Satender Kumar Antil v. CBI) case: The SC has asserted mandatory compliance with Sections 41 and 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). Thus, giving primacy to bail for undertrials (Bail and not Jail)
    • Previously in a 2014 judgement, SC has asked not to arrest the accused automatically when the offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may be less than seven years.
  • On the contrary, SC (in Vijay Madanlal Chaudhary v. Union of India (PMLA case)) upheld the arbitrary conditions of bail under Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, thus discarding the “presumption of innocence” principle.

Status of undertrials:

  • As per the Prison Statistics of India 2020, nearly 76% of prisoners are undertrials.
    • Reasons: detentions are often a result of unnecessary arrests by investigating agencies and further the unfair application of bail provisions by the court.


Arguments in favour of making immediate arrests and denial of bail to the undertrials:

  • The arrest of the wrongdoer is seen as an effective redressal mechanism by the victim.
  • If a police officer does not go for immediate detention, it may be considered a sign of complacency of the authorities.


  • The Court should not give a contradictory verdictbecause the operations of investigating agencies do not go in isolation from that of courts and creates a reason for arbitrary misuse of the law.
  • Need for Bail act: The confusion created by the two decisions of the apex court reinforces the need for a Bail Act.

Insta Links

Hasty arrest, near impossible bail: CJI

Mains Links

Q. Comprehensive reforms are needed in the criminal justice system to ensure effective enforcement of the law, uphold accountability, have a well-trained workforce and speedy disposal of the cases. Comment. (250 words)