Section 444 CrPC: Discharge of Sureties – Code of Criminal Procedure

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Section 444 CrPC: Discharge of Sureties

This section deals with the discharge of sureties in criminal proceedings under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC). It outlines the circumstances under which sureties can be released from their responsibility.

1. The Code:

Section 444 CrPC states:

“When any person is discharged from any bond entered into for his appearance, or when any person is acquitted of any offence, or when for any other reason it becomes unnecessary to require the attendance of the person for whose appearance such bond was entered into, the Court shall discharge the sureties from their liability under such bond.”

2. Explanation:

  • Discharge of the Principal: When the person who is required to appear in court (the “principal”) is discharged from the bond, either due to acquittal or other reasons, the sureties are automatically released from their obligation.
  • Acquittal of the Principal: If the principal is acquitted of the charges, the sureties are discharged as the purpose of the bond (ensuring the principal’s appearance) is no longer relevant.
  • Other Reasons: The court may discharge the sureties if there are other reasons rendering the bond unnecessary. This could include cases where the principal is deceased, incapacitated, or the charges against them are withdrawn.

3. Illustration:

Imagine a person named John is accused of theft. He is granted bail on the condition that he provides two sureties who agree to be responsible for his appearance in court. If John is later acquitted of the theft charges, the court will discharge the sureties from their responsibility under the bond.

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4. Common Questions and Answers:

Q: Can sureties be discharged before the principal is acquitted?

A: Yes, if the court finds the bond unnecessary for other reasons, like the principal’s death or the withdrawal of charges.

Q: What if the principal fails to appear in court?

A: If the principal fails to appear, the sureties may be held liable for the bond amount. The court can initiate proceedings against them to recover the money.

Q: Can sureties be discharged if they have already paid the bond amount?

A: No, once the sureties have paid the bond amount, they cannot be discharged from their liability. However, they may be able to recover the amount from the principal if the principal is later acquitted.

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