In VAMAN NARAIN GHIYA Vs. STATE OF RAJASTHAN[(2009) 2 SCC 281] Supreme Court Held :
Section 438 is a procedural provision which is concerned with the personal liberty of an individual who is entitled to plead, innocence, since he is not on the date of application for exercise of power u/s 438 of the Code convicted for the offence in respect of which he seeks bail. The applicant must show that he has `reason to believe’ that he may be arrested in a non-bailable offence. Use of the expression `reason to believe’ that he may be arrested in a non-bailable offence. Use of the expression `reason to believe’ shows that the applicant may be arrested must be founded on reasonable grounds. Mere “fear” is not `belief’ for which reason it is not enough for the applicant to show that he has some sort of vague apprehension that some one is going to make an accusation against him in pursuance of which he may be arrested. Grounds on which the belief on the applicant is based that he may be arrested in non-bailable offence must be capable of being examined. If an application is made to the High Court or the Court of Session, it is for the Court concerned to decide whether a case has been made out of for granting the relief sought. The provisions cannot be invoked after arrest of the accused. A blanket order should not be generally passed. It flows from the very language of the section which requires the applicant to show that he has reason to believe that he may be arrested. A belief can be said to be founded on reasonable grounds only if there is something tangible to go by on the basis of which it can be said that the applicant’s apprehension that he may be arrested is genuine. Normally a direction should not issue to the effect that the applicant shall be released on bail “whenever arrested for whichever offence whatsoever”. Such `blanket order’ should not be passed as it would serve as a blanket to cover or protect any and every kind of allegedly unlawful activity. An order u/s 438 is a device is secure the individual’s liberty’ it is neither a passport to the commission of crimes nor a shield against any and all kinds of accusations likely or unlikely. On the facts of the case, considered in the background of legal position set out above, this does not prima facie appear to be a case where any order in terms of Section 438 of the Code can be passed.
“Bail” remains an undefined term in the Cr.P.C. Nowhere else the term has been statutorily defined. Conceptually, it continues to be understood as a right for assertion of freedom against the State imposing restraints since the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, to which Indian is a signatory, the concept of bail has found a place within the scope of human rights. The dictionary meaning of the expression `bail’ denotes a security for appearance of a prisoner for his release. Etymologically, the word is derived from an old French verb `bailer’ which means to `give’ or `to deliver’, although another view is that its derivation is from the Latin term baiulare, meaning `to bear a burden’. Bail is a conditional liberty. Strouds’ Judicial Dictionary (Fourth Edition 1971) spells out certain other details. It states:
When a man is taken or arrested for felony, suspicion of felony, indicated of felony, or any such case, so that he is restrained of his liberty – And being by law bailable, offence surety to those which have authority to bail him, which sureties are bound for him to the Kings use in a certain sums of money, or body for body, that he shall appear before the Justices of Goale delivery at the next sessions etc. Then upon the bonds of these sureties, as is aforesaid, he is bailed, that is to say, set at liberty until the day appointed for his appearance.
Bail may thus be regarded as a mechanism whereby the State devolutes upon the community the function of securing the presence of the prisoners, and at the same time involves participation of the community in administration of justice.
Personal liberty is fundamental and can be circumscribed only by some process sanctioned by law. Liberty of a citizen is undoubtedly important but this is to balance with the security of the community. A balance is required to be maintained between the personal liberty of the accused and the investigational right of the police. It must result in minimum interference with the personal liberty of the accused and the right of the police to investigate the case. It has to dovetail two conflicting demands, namely, on one hand, the requirements of the society for being shielded from the hazards of being exposed to the mis-adventures of a person alleged to have committed a crime; and on the other, the fundamental cannon of criminal jurisprudence, viz, the presumption of innocence of an accused till he is found guilty. Liberty exists in proportion to wholesome restrain, the more restraint on others to keep off from us, the more liberty we have (See A.K. Gopalan Vs. The State of Madras, .
The law of bail, like any other branch of law, has its own philosophy, and occupies an important place in the administration of justice and the concept of bail emerges from the conflict between the police power to restrict liberty of a man who is alleged to have committed a crime, and presumption of innocence in favour of the alleged criminal. An accused is not detained in custody with the object of punishing him on the assumption of his guilt.
Chapter XXXIII consists of Sections 436 to 450. Sections 436 and 437 provide for the granting of bail to accused persons before trial and conviction. For the purposes of bail, offences are classified into two categories, that is, (i) bailable, (ii) non-bailable. Section 436 provides for granting bail in bailable cases and Section 437 in non bailable cases. A person accused of a bailable offence is entitled to be released on bail pending his trial. In case of such offences, a police officer has no discretion to refuse bail if the accused is prepared to furnish surety. The Magistrate gets jurisdiction to grant bail during the course of investigation when the accused is produced before him. In bailable offence there is no question of discretion for granting bail. The only choice for the Court is as between taking a simple recognizance of the principal offender or demanding security with surety. Persons contemplated by this Section cannot be taken in custody unless they are unable or unwilling to offer bail or to execute personal bonds. The Court has no discretion, when granting bail under this section, even to impose any condition except the demanding of security with sureties.
“Bailable offence” is defined in Clause (b) of Section 2 of the Cr.P.C. to mean an offence which is shown as bailable in the First Schedule of the Cr.P.C., or which is made bailable by any other law for the time being in force; and “non-bailable offence” means an other offence.
While considering an application for bail, detailed discussion of the evidence and elaborate documentation of the merits is to be avoided. This requirement stems from the desirability that no party should have the impression that his case has been pre-judged. Existence of a prima facie case is only to be considered. Elaborate analysis or exhaustive exploration of the merits is not required. (See Niranjan Singh and Another Vs. Prabhakar Rajaram Kharote and Others, ). Where the offence is of serious nature the question of grant of bail has to be decided keeping in view the nature and seriousness of the offence, character of the evidence and amongst others the larger interest of the public. (See State of Maharashtra Vs. Anand Chintaman Dighe, and State v. Surendranath Mohanty 1990 (3) OCR 462).