Appellate Court cannot grant bail without giving an opportunity to the Public Prosecutor to show cause in writing as to why the appellant be not released on bail . SC issues Guidelines on Suspension of Sentence during pendency of Criminal Appeal [Read the Judgment]

Appellate Court cannot  grant bail without giving an opportunity to the Public Prosecutor to  show  cause  in writing as to why the appellant be not released on bail . SC issues Guidelines on Suspension of Sentence during pendency of Criminal Appeal [Read the Judgment]

A Two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court in Atul Tripathi Vs. State of UP [Crl. Appeal 1516/2014] on Tuesday issued the following Guidelines regarding the suspension of Sentence during the pendency of Criminal Appeal.

a.    The appellate court, if inclined to consider the release of a  convict sentenced to punishment for death or imprisonment for life or for  a  period of ten years or  more,  shall  first  give  an  opportunity  to  the  public prosecutor to show cause in writing against such release.

b.    On such opportunity being given, the State is  required  to  file  its objections, if any, in writing.

c.    In case  the  public  prosecutor  does  not  file  the  objections  in writing, the appellate court shall, in its order, specify that no  objection had been filed despite the opportunity granted by the court.

d.    The court shall judiciously consider all the relevant factors  whether specified in the objections or not, like gravity of offence, nature  of  the crime,  age,  criminal  antecedents  of  the  convict,  impact   on   public confidence in court, etc. before passing an order for release.

The Court discussed the scope and ambit of Section 389 of Cr.P.C as follows;

“It may be seen that there is a marked difference between the  procedure  for consideration of bail under Section 439, which is pre conviction  stage  and Section 389 Cr.PC, which is post conviction stage. In case of  Section  439, the  Code  provides  that  only  notice  to  the  public  prosecutor  unless impractical be given before granting bail to a person who is accused  of  an offence which is triable exclusively by the Court of Sessions or  where  the punishment for the offence is imprisonment for life; whereas in the case  of post conviction bail under  Section  389  Cr.PC,  where  the  conviction  in respect  of  a  serious  offence  having  punishment  with  death  or   life imprisonment or imprisonment for a term not  less  than  ten  years,  it  is mandatory that the appellate  court  gives  an  opportunity  to  the  public prosecutor for showing cause in writing against such release.

Service of a copy of the appeal and  application  for  bail  on  the  public prosecutor by the appellant  will  not  satisfy  the  requirement  of  first proviso to Section 389 Cr.PC. The appellate court may even  without  hearing the  public  prosecutor,  decline  to  grant  bail.  However,  in  case  the appellate court is inclined to consider the release of the convict on  bail, the public prosecutor shall be granted  an  opportunity  to  show  cause  in writing as to why the appellant be not released on bail.  Such  a  stringent

provision is introduced only to ensure that the court  is  apprised  of  all the relevant factors so that  the  court  may  consider  whether  it  is  an appropriate case for release having regard to the manner in which the  crime is committed, gravity of the  offence,  age,  criminal  antecedents  of  the convict, impact on public confidence in the justice  delivery  system,  etc.

Despite such an opportunity being granted to the public prosecutor, in  case no cause is shown in writing, the appellate  court  shall  record  that  the State has not filed any objection in writing. This procedure is intended  to ensure transparency, to ensure that there is no allegation of collusion  and to ensure that the court is properly assisted by the  State  with  true  and correct facts with regard to the relevant considerations for grant  of  bail in respect of serious offences, at the post conviction stage.”