The Indian courts, have acknowledged that ‘bail, not jail, is the norm’ but at the same time have also evolved principles such as “collective interest of the community and the safety of the nation”, to carefully balance the interest of the state and the rights of the accused while deciding bail applications made by accused persons.

In this context, the pre-bail conditions that are imposed by certain special legislations, presumably on the basis of ‘interest of the state’, have presented further challenge to the courts. The extent to which such conditions could infringe the rights of the accused is an important topic of discussion and hence this article. .

In the present judgement, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India  was presented with one such challenge  in famously known as “Nikesh Tarachand Case”,where the petitioners had challenged the constitutional validity of Section 45(1) of the Prevention of the Money Laundering Act 2002 (“PMLA”), insofar as it imposed two additional conditions  for the grant of bail for a person accused of an offence under Part A of the Schedule to the PMLA.

The Supreme Court struck down the aforesaid provision on the ground that it violated Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution of India, i.e. provisions which protect the constitutional right to equality and the right to life and personal liberty, and it directed all the petitions (arising from bail applications) to be remanded to the respective courts to be heard and decided on merits, without the application of the additional conditions contained in Section 45(1) of the PMLA.