Bail is a legal procedure in which a judge or magistrate releases someone who has been arrested or imprisoned in exchange for security to ensure that the person is returned to court for subsequent proceedings. The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 or CrPC governs the law on bail.
In criminal situations, the objective of bail awaiting trial is to prevent punishing an innocent person (who may be convicted at trial) and to allow him to prepare his defence without hindrance. Although some magistrates consider additional criteria such as the weight of the evidence, the character of the accused, and the accused’s capacity to post bail, the amount of bail is normally established by the seriousness of the felony charged and the possibility of escape.
Bail is most used in modern legal systems to ensure the freedom of someone arrested and charged with a criminal offence before trial, however, it can also be used to secure release until an appeal of a conviction in specific situations. Its usage in civil proceedings has declined in tandem with the fall of debt incarceration, subject to jurisdictional differences. Under Indian law, bail is of three types,
– Regular bail (in case of anticipatory bail is cancelled or the accused is arrested during the trial or before the trial commences, a regular bail is applied),
– Interim bail (granted for a short duration before regular or anticipatory bail) and
– Anticipatory bail (pre-arrest bail, under section 438, CrPC).