Temporary Freedom: Understanding Interim Bail in the Indian Judicial System

On 10th May, 2024 Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was released from the custodianship of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for his alleged involvement in the Delhi Liquor Policy case. The Supreme Court granted him interim bail in light of the Upcoming General Election in Delhi. The last phase of polling is on 1st June, 2024, and Mr. Kejriwal was ordered to surrender back to the custodianship by June 2nd. While granting him interim bail to campaign for the Lok Sabha election, the supreme court had set certain rules for his release according to which he was barred from visiting the Delhi Secretariat. He was ordered not to subscribe any sanctioned lines unless it was demanded and necessary for carrying the concurrence or blessing of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. He was also banned from making any commentary with regard to his part in the liquor policy case.

Going through the complex legal justice system of India can be challenging and one of the vital aspects that arises is the generality of Interim bail, especially after the ongoing events as mentioned over. Let us first understand what is bail? In simple language, bail refers to release of an accused who is staying for trial, in exchange for fiscal security which ensures their presence in the ongoing case. In Civil cases, carrying bail is defendant’s right while in lawless cases, it’s at the discretion of the competent courts or police officers involved. Bail is of different types including Regular bail, anticipatory Bail, Interim Bail and Medical bail.

In this article, we will explore What is interim bail, What are the grounds for granting interim bail, and Case laws related to interim bail.

What is Interim Bail?

An interim bail is a temporary form of bail granted during the pendency of an operation for anticipatory or regular bail. Interim bail is important as when the application for regular or anticipatory bail goes to court, certain documents are required like charge sheet, case journal etc. So that the court can judiciously decide and pronounce its verdict. But sometimes this process requires time and the accused has to remain in legal custodianship until the court gets the documents and can decide the bail operation. But according to interim bail, the accused can apply for it to avoid judicial custody till court gets the documents and pronounce its valuable verdict. The generality of interim bail also guarantees Article 21 of the Constitution which deals with “Right to life and personal Liberty”. Until the court proceeds with hearing the bail operation of the accused, they can avail a temporary bail until the final verdict is pronounced. thus, interim bail is a temporary bail for a shorter time period during which the court can call the documents to make a final decision on the regular or anticipatory bail operation. While a regular or anticipatory bail is given for indefinite period of time, an interim bail is given for a definite period of time i.e. a fixed time period. It can be extended further upon the discretion of the competent court.

An interim bail is given to guard the character of the accused in the society. It was held in the case of Deepak Bajaj vs State of Maharashtra and Another (2008) that the character of a person is a precious asset with regard to article 21 of the Indian constitution thus, it’s important to maintain a balance between the particular liberty of an accused person and the police exploration rights.

There is no provision for interim bail mentioned in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973. It’s given upon the discretion of the competent court authority to award an interim bail to the criminated, by interpreting from legal vittles and taking precedents from important case laws.

Legal provisions under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973: –

  • Section 437 (Bail in Non- Bailable offences)

This section provides the conditions under which a bail can be granted to a person criminated of a non- bailable offense. While it doesn’t explicitly mention about interim bail, the judicial interpretation allows courts to grant temporary bail pending the decision on a regular bail operation.

  • Section 438 (Anticipatory Bail)

This section provides that an accused can seek an anticipatory bail if they are charged with committing a non- bailable offense. Courts can grant interim expectant bail until the final decision on the operation.

  • Section 439 (Special powers conferred to High Court and Session Court regarding Bail)

        This section grants special powers to the High Courts and Sessions Courts to    release an accused person on bail. The court can also grant interim bail while the bail operation of the criminated is being considered.

What are the grounds for granting Interim Bail?

In the case of Parminder Singh and others vs the State of Punjab (2001), the Delhi High Court stated that an Interim Bail can be given out in the preceding conditions-

  • When there is no chance that the accused will escape prosecution.
  • When there is no chance that the defendant may tamper with the validation.
  • When there is no justifiable reason to conduct a confined interrogation.
  • When the hearing on the anticipatory bail claim must be postponed.

Special provisions of interim bail given to undertrials during the Covid-19 pandemic-

Following the appearance of Covid- 19 in India, the Supreme Court issued guidelines for bail during the epidemic. The Supreme Court established a High-Power Committee (HPC) for each state and Union Territory. The commission stated that to avoid overcrowding and maintain correct social distancing, interim bails and parole should be awarded to prisoners and undertrials depending upon the nature and seriousness of the crime committed by them.

The Delhi High Court in January 2021, extended the period of Interim bail for 3499 undertrials us per the recommendations of the HPC for overcrowding of incarcerations and fir following the Covid- 19 morals.

Other grounds for granting Interim bail: –

  • Cases of urgent medical needs- An interim bail can be granted to accused if he/she is suffering from serious medical conditions and it requires urgent medical treatment that cannot be provided in the custody. It can also be provided in cases where the immediate family member of the accused is facing medical emergency.
  • On Humanitarian Grounds- In situations such as the death, illness, or marriage of a close family member it can be considered as grounds for granting interim bail to allow the accused to fulfill his/her family duties.
  • Nature and Gravity of the offence- An interim bail is more likely to be given to accused if he/she is involved in less severe crimes or in non- violent offenses where there is no risk towards the society.
  • Delay in Investigation or trial- In cases when the investigation is taking unusually long time to complete and the accused has spent considerable time in the judicial custody, then interim bail can be granted to prevent undue detention. Even in cases when the trial of the accused is delayed an interim bail can be issued by the court.

Related Case laws: –

  • Sunil Kumar vs The State of Bihar (1980)

In this case, the Supreme Court highlighted the necessity of interim bail to address urgent situations, emphasizing that personal liberty should not be restricted without adequate reasons.

  • Sanjay Chandra vs The Central Bureue of Investigation (2011)

While this case focused on regular bail, the Supreme Court emphasized the importance of personal liberty and the principle that bail is the rule and jail the exception. This case indirectly supports the rationale behind granting interim bail.

  • Rohit Tandon vs The Enforcement Directorate (2017)

In this case, the Supreme Court recapitulated the discretionary power of courts to grant interim bail in suitable cases, especially to avoid miscarriage of justice or violation of fundamental rights.

  • Natasha Narwal vs The State of Delhi NCT (2021)

In this case, the accused was arrested in February 2020 and was charged under the Unlawful Activities and (prevention) Act, 1967. She was given a three-week interim bail on humanitarian grounds as her father had passed away due to covid-19.


The Interim bail acts as an essential judicial tool within the Indian legal framework which provides a temporary relief to accused while balancing the interests of justice. Although not explicitly mentioned in the CrPC, its application through judicial interpretation ensures that the principles of personal liberty, natural justice, and judicial wisdom are upheld.

It is a crucial judicial tool that balances the need to protect personal liberty with the requirements of justice and public safety. Courts exercise their discretion of granting an interim bail based on a comprehensive assessment of the specific circumstances of each case. By considering various grounds be it medical, humanitarian, delay in investigation and many more, interim bail ensures that the rights of the accused are safeguarded while maintaining the integrity of the judicial process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): –

  1. Under which section of CrPC is the provision for interim bail mentioned?

     There is no specific provision for Interim bail mentioned in the CrPC. It can    be     derived for Section 437,438 and 439 of CrPC.           

  1. Major difference between Regular bail and Interim bail?

The major difference between them is that a regular bail is given for an indefinite period of time whereas an interim bail is given for a definite period of time.

  1. Who has the authority to grant Interim bail?

Magistrates, Sessions court and High court have the authority to grant interim bail depending upon the jurisdiction and the nature of the case.

  1. Can an interim bail be extended?

Yes, upon the discretion of the court an interim bail can be extended.

  1. Can an interim bail be revoked?

Yes, it can be revoked if the courts find that the accused has violated any conditions set by it, if new evidence emerges or if the accused is found tampering with the evidence.

Author- Tanay Kulkarni, a student of VES College of Law, Mumbai

Temporary Freedom: Understanding Interim Bail in the Indian Judicial System

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