‘Victim Impact Assessment’ Must Before Granting Bail in Serious Offences: Allahabad HC to SC

The Allahabad High Court has suggested to the Supreme Court that in serious and grave offences, a “victim impact assessment” report should be obtained after consulting the victim and taking into account his or her family rights, before granting bail to an accused. The high court’s registry, in an affidavit, has given its suggestions following a top court order asking it to help in laying down “broad parameters” to regulate bail applications matter, during the pendency of the appeals of convicted persons.

It suggested that victim impact assessment report should record concerns of the victim along with vital information on physical, mental, and social impact of the crime and the impact of bail to the accused. “The rights of the victim and his family should be considered before granting of bail,” it added.

The high court, as a measure to tackle the huge pendency of cases, suggested that dedicated benches should be constituted for hearing long-pending criminal appeals.

“The high court is facing immense pressure on account of the huge pendency of cases. Therefore, the accused may not be given benefit thereof in a mechanical manner unless special benches dedicated for deciding appeals early are constituted,” it said.

It further suggested that different yardsticks will have to be evolved for grant of bail to more serious crimes like white collar crimes and organised crimes against the state and its citizens. “… since the criminals involved here are habitual and hardened criminals who commit crimes in a planned and sophisticated manner,” it said.

The high court further added that life sentence in cases means “entire life”, the same should be taken as it is. It added that priority should be given to hearing those criminal appeals where the accused has undergone more than half sentence.

The top court is hearing 18 criminal appeals of persons convicted in heinous offences, seeking bail on the ground that they have spent seven or more years in jail. The appeals against the convictions have not been listed for regular hearing in the high court due to pendency.

The top court had noted that before it gives its authoritative approval to any suggestion given by the Uttar Pradesh government, it would be appropriate if the high court itself examines it and makes suggestions.

The matter is listed on Wednesday before a bench headed by Justice S.K. Kaul and it is likely to take up this affidavit.

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Author: Shirley