The Patna High Court recently addressed the issue of granting bail to convicted individuals after the District Appellate Court affirms their conviction and issues a sentence order. Justice Anil Kumar Sinha clarified the scope of Section 389 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in this context.
Key Points from the Court’s Ruling:
1. Bail Authority Post-Conviction : The Patna High Court confirmed that the trial court does not possess the authority to grant bail under Section 389 of CrPC after the District Appellate Court confirms both the conviction and sentence. The trial court’s power to suspend the sentence and grant bail is limited to situations where the convicted person intends to present an appeal against the conviction and sentence.
2. Section 389 of CrPC : Section 389(1) of CrPC grants the appellate court the power to suspend the execution of a sentence or order that has been appealed. If the appellant is in confinement, the court can also release them on bail for reasons recorded in writing.
3. Role of Trial Court : According to Section 389(3) of CrPC, the trial court may suspend the sentence and grant bail to the convicted person if they demonstrate their intent to present an appeal. This suspension is meant to enable them to prepare and submit an appeal and seek orders for the suspension of their sentence and release on bail from the appellate court.
4. Limitation of District Appellate Court : The Court emphasized that the District Appellate Court loses jurisdiction to suspend the sentence or grant bail once it decides the appeal. In such cases, the District Appellate Court becomes functus officio and cannot grant bail after the trial court’s conviction and sentence are affirmed.
5. Surrender Requirement : The Court also referenced Rule 57 of the Rules of Patna High Court, which mandates that convicted individuals must surrender to the relevant court before their revision application can be considered for admission. Failure to submit a surrender certificate within four weeks will result in the dismissal of the revision application.
In this particular case, the convicted individuals filed a revision application after their conviction was affirmed by the District Appellate Court. They had not surrendered as required by the Patna High Court Rules.
The Court clarified that provisional bail had been granted to the petitioners for a period of ninety days by the trial court. This provisional bail enabled them to approach the High Court under its revisional jurisdiction, and they argued that they were not required to surrender even after the provisional bail period had ended.
The Court upheld the interim bail of the accused but directed the petitioners to submit a surrender certificate within four weeks from the date of the judgment.
This judgment provides clarity on the conditions under which bail may be considered for convicted individuals and emphasizes the importance of following due process and legal provisions.