Deciphering Interim Bail

Exploring the nuances between “bail” and “interim bail” is essential, particularly in light of recent news where these terms are often used together. Clarifying these distinctions will empower readers to comprehend the legal intricacies involved and their significance in the justice system.

What is Bail?

The provision of bail is rooted in the legal principle of “presumption of innocence,” wherein individuals accused of crimes are considered innocent until proven guilty. Although the word “bail” is not defined in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Section 2(a) of the CrPC defines “bailable and non-bailable offences” as follows: “Bailable offence” refers to an offense listed as bailable in the First Schedule, or any offense designated as bailable by any other prevailing law. Meanwhile, “non-bailable offence” encompasses all other offenses not falling within the scope of bailable offenses.

The essence of arrest is to ensure justice by bringing the accused before the court. However, if this objective can be fulfilled without resorting to arrest, thereby avoiding unnecessary infringement upon the individual’s liberty, then bail serves as a means for conditional release.

How many types of Bails are there?

There are five types of bail, namely

Regular Bail: Court-ordered release of a suspect with conditions to not obstruct justice, typically for bailable offenses, governed by Section 436 of the CrPC.

Anticipatory Bail: Pre-arrest relief granted by court under Section 438 of CrPC to prevent arrest based on reasonable apprehension of being charged with a non-bailable offense.

Interim Bail: Temporary release during bail application processing, subject to conditions, serving as a brief respite from custody.

Default Bail: Automatic bail granted when investigation period lapses without chargesheet for offenses not punishable by death, life imprisonment, or minimum 10-year imprisonment, as per Section 167 of CrPC.

Medical Bail: Bail granted based on medical grounds, primarily for urgent medical attention or treatment, with less focus on the case’s merits.

What is Interim Bail?

Interim bail serves as a temporary relief granted to the accused while their regular or anticipatory bail application is being processed by a higher court, typically a sessions court or high court. This type of bail becomes necessary when crucial documents, such as charge sheets or case diaries, are required for a thorough consideration of the bail application but are not immediately available.

During the period required to obtain these documents, the accused would ordinarily remain in custody. However, interim bail allows them to seek temporary release to avoid unnecessary imprisonment until the higher court receives the necessary documents and can make a final decision on the bail application. Interim bail is subject to specific conditions and may be extended by the court if deemed necessary due to special circumstances.

How is Interim Bail different from Bail?

Bail is the release of a defendant from custody, typically with certain conditions, either before or after trial. It can be regular, anticipatory, default, or medical bail, depending on the circumstances.

Interim bail, on the other hand, is a temporary form of bail granted during the pendency of a bail application. It serves as a temporary release from custody until a final decision is made on the bail application. Once the interim bail period expires, the defendant’s status may revert to custody if the final decision on bail is not in their favor. So, while bail is the overarching concept of release from custody, interim bail specifically refers to a temporary arrangement until the bail application is fully processed and decided upon.

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About the Author: Hemansh Tandon