Those who fail to appear in the Court as required without a sufficient reason after being charged with an offence and released on bail or on bond without sureties will be punished with imprisonment of up to a year or fine or both.
In the wake of Section 229A of the Indian Penal Code coming into force after being inserted through the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2005, the Bangalore City Police Commissioner Shanakar Bidari has instructed all the police inspectors to strictly follow the new guidelines. The punishment stated under the new section will be in addition to the punishment to which the accused will be liable after he is convicted. Moreover, the court can also order forfeiture of the bond without sureties.
All offences coming under the new section are cognizable and non-bailable.
The new provision was brought into force by the Parliament in the wake of the habitual violation of the provisions of the bail or the bond by the accused who fails to turn up for the trials without sufficient reason. Persons facing warrants issued by the respective court after they fail to appear before it for hearings will also be prosecuted under the new section.
Accordingly, all police stations should prepare a list of all the accused who are released on bail or bond by the Court in any criminal offence pending trial and also of those against whom Court has issued warrants.
The Station House Officer on his own should lodge a First Information Report and take up investigation. Whenever the accused is traced and arrested, he should be sent to the court along with a charge sheet for the offence under the new provision. Convictions would be rather easy under the new section as no exception would be made in respect of persons violating the conditions of the bail. It will also be helped by the fact that fewer evidences will be required for submission before the court.
These include certified copies of the bail order issued by the Court or bond duly containing the conditions, order received from the Court, order of the Court on a date where the accused has failed to appear before it, warrant issued by the Court etc. A significant aspect of the new provision is that the accused will have to prove his failure to appear before the court with sufficient reason.
Similarly, another new section 174A has also been added to the IPC which deals with an absconding person against whom a written proclamation is published by the Court under Section 82 of the Cr.P.C. Such person will be punished with imprisonment of up to three years or fine or both. But, if he is declared as a proclaimed offender, the quantum of punishment will be up to seven years. Accordingly, the Station House Officers on his own, should register an FIR against the absconder and take up investigation after which a charge sheet should be filed.
The evidence required to be collected for this include, the fact that the accused absconded, issuing of a proclamation and its requirement that the accused should appear at a specified date and time, the proclamation’s execution as a summon and the accused’s failure to comply with the proclamation’s requirement.