Refusal to produce bail amount
Recently Arvind Kejriwal refused to provide the bail amount which he had to pay in the Gadkari defamation case. What will be the consequence if a person refuses to pay the bail amount and what steps can the Magistrate take to ensure that the due amount is paid besides arresting the person?
The question of Bail usually comes up only after the arrest has been made, in order to secure release from custody. An exception to this is the case of anticipatory bail, which was not the case with respect to Arvind Kejriwal. When a person refuses to pay the Bail amount, he will have to remain in respective (police/judicial) custody until the charges are cleared. In fact, a large proportion of prisoners in Jails are under-trials who could not pay Bail amount due to poverty. But there have been positive pronouncements in this regard by the Supreme Court, for example under trial prisoners can’t be kept in custody for longer than the longest sentence awardable if they were convicted. It has also held that charging exorbitant Bail fees would be a violation of Fundamental Rights. Thus Bail is compulsory, and cannot be waived in India even by the Courts. But Courts have to exercise prudent discretion with respect to setting Bail amount based on the financial capacity of the prisoner. In Kejriwal’s case, he initially refused to pay Bail and remained in judicial custody, opting to file a plea before the High Court challenging the need to furnish a Bail bond. But he subsequently furnished Bail bond and also withdrew his plea before the High Court.