Chief Justice of India, U.U. Lalit, in its order on activist Teesta Setalvad, made an oral observation that under Section 437 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), a woman is entitled to favourable treatment.


What did the CJI say?

He was referring to a provision that says being a woman is a possible ground for granting bail, even when otherwise it cannot be considered.


What is ‘Section 437 of CrPC’?

  • Section 437 of the CrPC deals with bail in case of non-bailable offences.
  • It says a person shall not be released on bail if there is reasonable ground to believe that he has committed an offence punishable with death or life imprisonment; or, if he has been previously been convicted for an offence punishable with death, life imprisonment, or for a term of seven years or more; or been convicted on two or more occasions on other offences with a term between three and seven years.
  • However, it also contains exceptions in a proviso that says the court may grant bail even in these cases, “if such person is under the age of 16 or is a woman or is sick or infirm”.

Special provisions for women in criminal law

  • There are several provisions in criminal law that give special consideration to women.
  • For instance, when a police officer requires the attendance of any person who he believes is acquainted with a case under investigation, the person has to appear before the officer (Section 160).
  • However, no woman shall be required to do so at any place other than the place in which she resides.