There should be no “automatic denial” of bail to a person accused of being involved in terror acts, the Law Commission has cautioned indicating that evidence should be given priority. In its report on ‘Provisions relating to bail’, the panel has warned that “mere classification of an act as an act of terrorism should not result in the automatic denial of bail or reversal of the burden of proof”.
The report, submitted to the law ministry last week, pointed to the provisions in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) wherein the period of detention without bail can be extended. It indicated that evidence against the accused should play an important role and people against whom there is shaky evidence should be granted bail before charges are pressed.
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“Under UAPA, the period of detention without bail is 90 days. It likewise provides that the special court may extend the said period up to 180 days based on the report submitted by the public prosecutor indicating the progress of the investigation and the specific reasons for the detention of the person accused of an offense beyond the said period of 90 days,” the reported pointed out.
It, however, said the approach to bail under UAPA is “liberal than what was under POTA and TADA”. Under POTA and TADA, there was a virtual prohibition on bail for offenses under these laws, it recalled. The two laws were repealed by Parliament. But at the same time, the commission, headed by Justice BS Chauhan (retd) said “there is a necessity to impose stringent conditions while granting bail” to those accused of economic offenses.