Sunday, March 3, 2024

Supreme Court says jail is rule, bail exception under UAPA

The language of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) suggests that under the law, jail is the rule and bail is the exception, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday. The top court said that mere trial delay is inadequate grounds to grant bail.

A bench of Justices MM Sundresh and Aravind Kumar observed it while denying bail to Gurwinder Singh, a man charged under the UAPA for allegedly promoting Sikh separatism.

“The conventional idea in bail jurisprudence vis-à-vis ordinary penal offences that the discretion of Courts must tilt in favour of the oft-quoted phrase – ‘bail is the rule, jail is the exception’ – unless circumstances justify otherwise – does not find any place while dealing with bail applications under UAP Act,” the judgment read.

“The ‘exercise’ of the general power to grant bail under the UAP Act is severely restrictive in scope. The form of the words used in proviso to Section 43D (5)– ‘shall not be released’ in contrast with the form of the words as found in Section 437(1) CrPC – ‘may be released’ – suggests the intention of the Legislature to make bail, the exception and jail, the rule”.

The bench said that under the UAPA, bail must be rejected as a rule if the court concludes that there are grounds to believe the allegations against the accused person on a preliminary reading.

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