The Patna High Court has observed that if a prayer for suspension of sentence and release of an appellant on bail, convicted of a capital crime and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life, it is to be considered favourably and he is ordinarily allowed bail if he has completed seven years of incarceration in connection with such case before conviction and after conviction, taken together when his appeal is not likely to be heard on merits in near future, on the ground of possible delay in the disposal of the appeal.
A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh, said in case of female convict, such period shall be six years, in place of seven years.
The court then added that that this rule could be uniformly followed, barring peculiar and exceptional circumstances.
“It will depend on the facts and circumstances of a particular case where the Court can refuse the concession of bail despite delay in the disposal of the appeal,” the court said.
The court made this observation while hearing an application by a murder convict to suspend sentence pending bail. It was contended on behalf of the accused that delay in taking up of criminal appeals for final hearing and adjudication may also be a factor for consideration of suspension of sentence, if the appellant has remained in custody in connection with the trial concerned for a reasonably long time.
However, in the instant case, the court observed that the accused’s period of incarceration was less than five years and hence, he was not entitled to sentence suspension.
Read the Judgment here.