Supreme Court has held that long custody would be an essential factor while granting bail under the UAPA. Article 21 of the Constitution of India provides right to speedy trial and long period of incarceration would be a good ground to grant bail to an under-trial for an offence punishable under the UAPA. It has also been held that the embargo under Section 43-D of the UAPA would not negate the powers of the Court to give effect to Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The relevant extract of the judgement is reproduced hereunder:-
“It is thus clear to us that the presence of statutory restrictions like Section 43D (5) of UAPA per se does not oust the ability of Constitutional Courts to grant bail on grounds of violation of Part III of the Constitution. Whereas at commencement of proceedings, the Courts are expected to appreciate the legislative policy against grant of bail but the rigours of such provisions will melt down where there is no likelihood of trial being completed within a reasonable time and the period of incarceration already undergone has exceeded a substantial part of the prescribed sentence. Such an approach would safeguard against the possibility of provisions like Section 43D (5) of UAPA being used as the sole metric for denial of bail or for wholesale breach of constitutional right to speedy trial.
Instead, Section 43-D (5) of UAPA merely provides another possible ground for the competent Court to refuse bail, in addition to the well-settled considerations like gravity of the offence, possibility of tampering with evidence, influencing the witnesses or chance of the accused evading the trial by absconsion etc.”
read HERE 2021 SCeJ 1345