• Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021
  • Last Update : 11:38 am

ED: We need to fix our bail system

  • Published at 07:39 am August 23rd, 2021
law court gavel remand
Representational image Bigstock

The courts cannot arbitrarily decide who is eligible for bail

For bailable offenses, it should be obvious – after all, it’s in the name – bail should be granted as a right to all citizens except under circumstances the accused poses a potential threat to the public or are at serious flight risk owing to the punishment being lifetime imprisonment or death.

But for most other cases, courts have no right to deny citizens bail. However, and as we have editorialized on before, our prisons have become populated with people who have been convicted of no crime as they await trial.

What is perhaps a more frustrating aspect of the whole process is the arbitrary nature of how the courts decide whether someone should be granted bail or not. While on the one hand the courts see fit to deny bail for Dhallywood actress Pori Moni, who is currently involved in a drug case, on the other, some members of the terrorist outfit Huji-B, involved with hundreds of killings across the country, are allowed bail. 

The courts must act according to the law and the law provides all citizens equal rights when it comes to bailable offenses. As such, the courts cannot arbitrarily decide who is eligible for bail and who is not and act according to its own whim. 

This can and has become a system through which the powers of our justice system can be abused to harass people or silence those who attract the ire of the powerful. 

Justice that is doled out on the whims of the courts is no justice at all. It is incumbent upon the courts to provide the legal justifications for denying bail. Without any legal basis to do so, the right to bail for every citizen must be upheld.  

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