`Bail Shouldn’t Be Denied As Punishment’
The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that custodial interrogation should be avoided if the accused cooperates with the investigation and there is no likelihood of his or her absconding from the clutches of law.A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Rohinton F Nari man said a strong social stigma is attached to a person being arrested and the court must keep it in mind while deciding on the bail plea of an accused.

“In cases where the court is of the considered view that the accused has joined the investigation and he is fully cooperating with the investigating agency and is not likely to abscond, in that event, custodial interrogation should be avoided,“ it said.

“A great ignominy , humiliation and disgrace is attached to arrest. Arrest leads to many serious consequences not only for the accused but for the entire family and at times for the entire community. Most people do not make any distinction between arrest at a pre-conviction stage or post-conviction stage,“ said Justice Sikri, who wrote the judgment for the bench. The order said once an accused is released on anticipatory bail, it should “ordinarily“ be continued till the trial of the case and it would be “unreasonable“ to compel the accused to surrender and again apply for regular bail.

It set aside the order of the Gujarat HC cancelling anticipatory bail plea of a rape accused in a 14-year old case.

The court said bail of an accused should not to be withheld as a punishment. It said the object of bail, which is to secure the attendance of the accused at the trial, and whether bail should be granted or refused is to be decided on the basis whether it is probable that the party will appear to take his trial.

“There is no requirement that the accused must make out a special case for the exercise of the power to grant anticipatory bail. This virtually reduces the salutary power conferred by Section 438 CrPC to a dead letter. A person seeking anticipatory bail is still a free man entitled to the presumption of innocence. He is willing to submit to restraints and conditions on his freedom, by the acceptance of conditions which the court may deem fit to impose, in consideration of the assurance that if arrested, he shall be enlarged on bail,“ it said.