In order to plug loopholes in the bail process, the central region (Kurla to Byculla) started an initiative two months ago. Observing that in many cases, people who provide surety to accused do so too often, the police have decided that such people will have to give details of all those they have provided surety for.
Additional commissioner of police (central region), Vineet Agarwal, who spearheaded the initiative said, “We now have a form to be filled by those giving surety. The person has to mention if he has provided surety to any accused in the past and how many times. This form becomes part of our records.” He added, “We have collected 75 such forms in the past two months.
Agarwal said the move has shown results as a lot of stock people standing surety are hesitant to do so, as records show that they appear too often. As per law, there is no specified limit for standing surety, however, if your names appears frequently it arouses suspicion. We do not have anything against people genuinely standing surety, but we need to check those appearing on a frequent basis.”
When asked about the reason behind the move Agarwal said, “In our experience, there are some stock people who are seen appearing as surety for various accused on a regular basis. This makes getting bail too easy. The whole idea behind getting a person to give surety is to ensure that someone takes responsibility in case the accused goes missing. People would normally be hesitant unless they know the person well. However, in some cases as there are stock people already available, the accused is bailed out easily.”
Agarwal added that the provision for ensuring the suitability of a surety already exists in the Criminal Procedure Code under Section 441. “We are only implementing what is already in the code but not followed widely. We just want the proper procedure to be followed. Our officers work hard to nab a criminal but he can get away because of someone who may not even know him well, but is ready to stand surety.” Agarwal said.