Bail serves as a crucial legal process in India, allowing individuals accused of a crime to secure temporary release from custody before or during their trials. For bailable offences, individuals have the right to seek bail, either directly from the police or through the Magistrates’ Court. However, the granting of bail for non-bailable offences is not automatic, requiring individuals to approach a Magistrate for consideration. Individuals accused of these offences must approach a Magistrate to request bail, and its granting is subject to the court’s discretion. In cases involving non-bailable offences carrying severe penalties, such as life imprisonment or the death penalty, bail can only be granted by Session Courts and High Courts.
Analysing data from bail cases in high courts is of utmost importance, as it sheds light on the vexing issue of undertrial detention and its impact on the criminal justice system. The Prison Statistics of India 2021 reveal that a staggering 76% of the prison population comprises undertrial prisoners who have yet to be convicted of the crimes they are accused of. A fair and just bail system is essential for upholding the principles of justice and reducing undertrial detention. By analysing bail case data, we can identify potential areas of improvement, such as ensuring timely hearings or streamlining the bail process. Addressing the issue of undertrial detention is particularly crucial, as it not only impacts individual liberties but also contributes to prison overcrowding and the strain on the justice system.