A Mentally Disabled Person Shall be Released on Bail on Sufficient Security U/S 466 of Cr.P.C as a Rule. Refusing Bail to him Shall Occur in Exceptional Circumstances: SC

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A Mentally Disabled Person Shall be Released on Bail on Sufficient Security U/S 466 of Cr.P.C as a Rule. Refusing Bail to him Shall Occur in Exceptional Circumstances: SC

The Supreme Court has ruled in a recent judgment that if an accused is of unsound mind and he is not capable to stand trial or his defense, the trial court shall release him on bail as a rule upon providing sufficient security to the satisfaction of the court. Such an accused of unsound mind can be denied bail in the exceptional circumstances i.e. when sufficient security is missing.

Meaning thereby, the Supreme Court has laid down a principle that releasing an accused of unsound mind is mandatory for the trial court except when sufficient security to the satisfaction of the court has not been provided. To allow him bail is a matter of rule and to refuse him bail is a matter of exception.

The Supreme Court has ruled so in a case of an accused who was alleged to have spoken derogatory remarks against the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. He was examined during the trail by two doctors and was found of unsound mind being affected by schizophrenia, a mental disease where the affected person leaves in fantasy far beyond the reality. Having found of unsound mind, the relative of the accused filed an application before the trial court to release him under section 466 of the Cr.P.C. The trial court declined bail and instead, directed the police to send him to a mental hospital. The order was challenged in the High Court which declined interference withย  the order of the trial court. The case finally came up for adjudication and proper interpretation of section 466 of Cr.P.C. before the Supreme Court.

The Court interpreted the said section to mean that the primary course the section provides is to release an accused of unsound mind who cannot stand trial on bail on sufficient grounds. To decline him release on bail is the secondary course. Thus, this order requires us to interpret the said section to mean that an accused of unsound mind on sufficient grounds shall be released as a matter of rule, while retaining him in custody shall occur in exceptional circumstances.

The Court further explained that exceptional circumstances mean when sufficient security is missing, and sufficient security means that a person who comes forward and binds himself that he shall take care of the accused, he shall prevent him from doing an injury to any person and he shall produce him before the court whenever required.ย  The discretion of the court to release an accused of unsound mind is found on these conditions. These conditions are the touchstone on the basis of which the court can decide the bail of an accused of unsound mind either way.

The Supreme Court allowed the petition and converted in into an appeal. The Court observed that the relatives are pursuing the case continuously and they are providing sufficient security as well, hence, he was released on bail.

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