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UP bill to restore anticipatory bail clause referred to Prez

PTI India
Updated: 09-09-2018 22:32 IST

A crucial bill that will pave the way for the re-introduction of the provision of anticipatory bail, which was revoked over 40 years ago in the state during the Emergency, has been referred for presidential assent.

Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik has referred the Code of Criminal Procedure (Uttar Pradesh Amendment) Bill, 2018, to the President, a Raj Bhawan communique said Sunday.

The state Assembly had on August 30 approved the bill that aims at restoring the provision of anticipatory bail in the state. The proposed legislation will have to be sent to the Union government for final approval, as it proposes amendments for the state in Section 438 (anticipatory bail) of the CrPC.

"Under the Section 438 of the CrPC, imposing conditions or riders before such bail has been left to the discretion of the court. However, in the UP amendment, we have made certain riders mandatory like the accused would have to be present for interrogation whenever required by police, the accused will not threaten anyone directly or indirectly involved with the case and that the accused will not leave the country without the permission of the court," a home department official said.

One of the proposed amendments is that it will not be necessary for the accused to be present during the hearing for anticipatory bail. Apart from UP and Uttarakhand, all other states have the provision of anticipatory bail, an official said. "There will be no anticipatory bail in cases where the punishment is a death sentence and also cases under the Gangster's Act."

Another amendment is that the court would have to decide on the application for anticipatory bail within 30 days of the filing of such an application. "West Bengal has this provision," the official pointed out.

The provision was repealed in UP by then chief minister Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna in 1976 during the Emergency, to rein in protests against the Congress.

In 2009, the state law commission had also made a recommendation for re-introduction of a modified bill. The next year, a bill in this regard was cleared by the Assembly and sent for the Centre's approval, but it was put on hold.

The then Mayawati government had passed a bill that year and sent it to the President, but it was sent back with suggestions for some modifications.

In an application pending before the Supreme Court, the state government had given an assurance in July this year that the provision would be re-introduced.

A committee, headed by the principal secretary (home), which included the director general (prosecution) and officials of the law department had studied the shortcomings of the past and utilization of the provision in other states.