Section 8 – Variation of conditions of probation – Probation of Offenders Act

Provided that no such variation shall be made without giving the offender and the surety or sureties mentioned in the bond an opportunity of being heard.

(2) If any surety refuses to consent to any variation proposed to be made under sub­section (1), the Court may require the offender to enter into a fresh bond and if the offender refuses or fails to do so, the Court may sentence him for the offence of which he was found guilty.

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(3) Notwithstanding anything hereinbefore contained, the Court which passes an order under Section 4 in respect of an offender may, if it is satisfied on an application made by the Probation Officer, that the conduct of the offender has been such as to make it unnecessary that he should be kept any longer under supervision, discharge the bond or bonds entered into by him.

Comment:

The section empowers the Court, on application by a Probation Officer, to vary or alter the conditions of the bond entered into by the probationer at any time when the bond is effective; if it thinks it necessary in the interest of the offender or the public. However, there are two limitations imposed by the Act on this power of the Court. They are:—

(1) The duration of bond can be extended or reduced by altering or inserting additional conditions therein but it shall not exceed three years from the date of original order.

(2) No such variation can be made without giving the probationer and the surety or sureties mentioned in the bond, an opportunity of being heard.

As provided in the proviso to this section, if the variation so proposed is not acceptable to sureties of the bond, the Court may require the offender to enter into a fresh bond failing which he may be sentenced for the offence for which he was found guilty.

It is significant to note that there is no provision for varying the conditions of bond for probation in Section 360 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 which provides for release of certain offenders on probation of good conduct. However, the State enactments on probation do provide analogous provision empowering the Court to vary or alter the conditions of probation bond on an application by Probation Officer.

It may be stated that an order of termination of probation by the Court ipso facto discharges the sureties mentioned in the probation bond. Needless to say those in the event of death of the probationer, the surety or sureties mentioned in his probation bond are automatically discharged.

As to the question whether in the event of suicide committed by the probationer the surety or sureties are discharged or not, the Courts have expressed divergent views. Some Courts have opined that in such a case the sureties are responsible for neglect or default on their part in failing to prevent the probationer from committing suicide.

But this contention has not found support from most of the Courts. Therefore, the correct view perhaps would be to discharge the sureties of their obligation in the event of suicide by the probationer.