The Delhi High Court emphasized the importance of timely release of accused/convicts/undertrial prisoners who have been granted bail, stating that the purpose of interim bail/bail is frustrated when substantial time is consumed for verifying sureties without considering exigencies.

The petitioner filed a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India along with Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, seeking interim bail as directed in an earlier order. Despite the order, the petitioner was not released on bail, leading to the filing of this petition. The delay was attributed to the verification process of surety bonds and coordination issues with the police stations.

The State acknowledged the delay and explained that the verification reports for the sureties were received after several days. Efforts were made to contact the sureties, and the petitioner was eventually released.

A Bench of Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta held, “The very purpose of interim bail/bail stands frustrated, in case substantial time is consumed for the purpose of verification of sureties without consideration of exigencies.”

Advocate Deepanshu Baisla appeared for the Petitioner and Advocate Amol Sinha appeared for the Respondent.

The Court emphasized the importance of timely release of accused/convicts/undertrial prisoners granted bail, as any delay infringes upon their liberty rights. It added, “The unlawful delay in release of accused/convicts/undertrial prisoners despite being admitted to bail needs to be addressed as it touches upon the rights of liberty of undertrials/convicts.

While recognizing that physical verification of surety bonds may take time due to operational constraints, the Court emphasized that delays extending for two weeks are unacceptable. The Court said, “This Court is conscious of the fact that the process of physical verification of surety bond may take some time due to understaffing or overwork of the police officials but the same cannot be countenanced in case the delay in verification of surety bonds extends for a period of two weeks. The verification of local surety bonds needs to be ensured within strict timelines, in a time bound manner to avoid exploitation of prisoner/surety in any manner.”

It instructed the Commissioner of Police, Delhi, to ensure that local surety bonds forwarded for verification are returned promptly, preferably by the next day. The court added, “Considering the facts and circumstances, necessary instructions be issued by the Commissioner of Police, Delhi to ensure that the local surety bonds if forwarded for verification, are returned back at the earliest within strict timelines, without occasioning any delay and preferably by the next day. Director General (Prisons) is also directed to further sensitize Superintendent Jails for considering the bail bonds expeditiously in accordance with law and without raising of uncalled for objections.”

The petition was disposed of with a direction to forward copy of the Judgment to authorities concerned for compliance.

Cause Title: Sujit Kumar Singh v. Director General of Prisons, [2024:DHC:1860]


Petitioner: Advocates Deepanshu Baisla, Abhishek Khari and Gaurav Tyagi

Respondent: Advocates Amol Sinha, ASC with Kshitiz Garg, Ashvini Kumar, Chavi L Azarus and Arjun Singh Kadian

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