UP Bill for reintroduction of anticipatory bail gets President Ram Nath Kovind’s assent

President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to a key bill of Uttar Pradesh that will pave the way for reintroduction of the provision of anticipatory bail, revoked during the Emergency in 1976, officials said Monday. Barring Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, all other states in the country have the provision of anticipatory bail. The president has given assent to the Code of Criminal Procedure (Uttar Pradesh Amendment) Bill, 2018, a Home Ministry official said. With the presidential assent, the provision of applying for an anticipatory bail in Uttar Pradesh has been restored after over four decades. The bill provides amendments for Uttar Pradesh in Section 438 (anticipatory bail) of the CrPC. As per the amendments, it will not be necessary for the accused to be present during the hearing for the anticipatory bail. It also provides for certain mandatory conditions or riders to be imposed by the court before considering granting the anticipatory bail, including not allowing the provision in case of serious crimes. Besides, there will be no anticipatory bail in cases where the punishment is death sentence and also cases under the Gangsters Act, the official said. In 2009, the State Law Commission had also made a recommendation for re-introduction of a modified bill. In 2010, the then Mayawati government had cleared a bill in this regard and sent to the central government for approval. However, it was put on hold. Later, it was sent back with suggestions for some modifications. Before clearing the fresh bill, the Yogi Adityanath government had set up a committee, headed by the principal secretary (Home), which included the director general (prosecution) and officials of the law department, to study the shortcomings of the past and utilisation of the provision in other states. Under Section 438 of the CrPC, imposing conditions or riders before an anticipatory bail has been left to the discretion of the court. However, in the UP amendment, certain riders have been imposed. These include 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, another official said. Another amendment is that the court would have to decide on the application for an anticipatory bail within 30 days. West Bengal has this provision, the official said.