Reform bail law, but make the right diagnosis first

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Judiciary and tribunals, Issue: Issue with global university ranking system

Context: Recently SC acknowledged the ineffectiveness of the bail system

  • Indian prisons are overcrowded (118%) with 75% under-trial.
  • In Satender Kumar Antil vs CBI case, SC has recognized the ineffectiveness of bail system and has issued comprehensive guidelines –
  • Timelines for bail application disposal and the need for separate legislation.
  • Emphasized on the principle of ‘presumption of innocence’ and advocated for ‘bail not jail’ as the norm.

     Ways to reform the system:

  • Gather empirical evidence on parameters such as– bail application rates and acceptance/rejection proportions.
  • Effective enforcement of safeguards against arbitrary arrest.
  • Reducing the discretionary power in bail adjudication which often leads to denial of bail or imposition of onerous conditions for granting bail.
  • Re-evaluation of the current bail system which assumes risk of financial loss is necessary to ensure the presence of the accused in court.
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