Section 4 – Power of Court to release certain offenders on probation – Probation of Offenders Act, 1958

Provided that the Court shall not direct such release of an offender unless it is satisfied that the offender or his surety, if any, has a fixed place of abode or regular occupation in the place over which the Court exercises jurisdiction or in which the offender is likely to live during the period for which he enters into the bond.

(2) Before making any order under sub-section (1), the Court shall take into consideration the report, if any, of the probation officer concerned in relation to the case.

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(3) When an order under sub-section (1) is made, the Court may, if it is of opinion that in the interests of the offender and of the public it is expedient so to do,

(4) The Court making a supervision order under sub-section (3) shall require the offender, before he is released, to enter into a bond, with or without sureties, to observe the conditions specified in such order and such additional conditions with respect to residence, abstention from intoxicants or any other matter as the Court may, having regard to the particular circumstances, consider fit to impose for preventing a repetition of the same offence or a commission of other offences by the offender.

(5) The court making a supervision order under sub-section (3) shall explain to the offender the terms and conditions of the order and shall forthwith furnish one copy of the supervision order to each of the offenders, the sureties, if any, and the probation officer concerned.

Comment:

The section permits release on probation of even the adult offenders who are not recidivists and show potentiality for re-adjustment to normal life in society. The Court may order release of such offender on entering a bond on probation of good conduct with or without surety.

The benefit of probation cannot be extended to offenders whose offences are punishable with death or imprisonment for life. Sub-section (2) of this section provides that the Court may call for the pre-sentence report of the probation officer before making an order for release of offender on probation. The probationer may be ordered to be placed under supervision for a period of not less than one year with or without conditions as the Court deems fit and proper.

It must be stated that though the benefit of probation may be extended to offenders whose offence is not punishable with death or imprisonment for life, it does not mean that it will necessarily be available in all other cases.

In other words, the offender who has committed an offence which is heinous, grave and against the public security may be denied the benefit of probation by the Court. Thus the Courts have generally declined to grant the benefit of release on probation to persons who are convicted for offences involving sex-perversity, lust-loaded criminality, corruption, adulteration, against public welfare, anti-social acts etc.