Probation of Offenders Act, 1958

THE PROBATION OF OFFENDERS ACT, 1958

1. Short title, extent and commencement

(1) This Act may be called the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958.

(2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

(3) It shall come into force in a State on such date as the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette appoint, and different dates may be appointed for different parts of the State.

2. Definitions

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

(a) “Code” means the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (5 of 1898)1 ;

(b)  “probation officer” means an officer appointed to be a probation officer or recognised as such under section 13;

(c) “prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under this Act;

(d) words and expressions used but not defined in this Act and defined in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (5 of 1898)2 , shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in that Code.


  1. Now see Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974).

3. Power of court to release certain offenders after admonition

When any person is found guilty of having committed an offence punishable under section 379 or section 380 or section 381 or section 404 or section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, (45 of 1860) or any offence punishable with imprisonment for not more than two years, or with fine, or with both, under the Indian Penal Code, or any other law, and no previous conviction is proved against him and the court by which the person is found guilty is of opinion that, having regard to the circumstances of the case including the nature of the offence, and the character of the offender, it is expedient so to do, then, notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the court may, instead of sentencing him to any punishment or releasing him on probation of good conduct under section 4 release him after due admonition.

Explanation.—For the purposes of this section, previous conviction against a person shall include any previous order made against him under this section or section 4.


COMMENTS

(i) The Supreme Court has held that in a case of petty theft the High Court should have extended the benefit of either section 360 of the Code of Criminal Procedure or sections 3 and 4 of the Probation of Offenders Act to the appellant instead of imposing a sentence of fine on him; Keshav Sitaram Sali v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1983 SC 291.

(ii) A youth of 20 years was found guilty of an offence punishable under section 380 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 and no previous conviction was proved against him. It was held by the court that the offence committed by the accused was not out of deliberate preparation or design but it was a fit case for application of section 3 and he be released after due admonition; Basikesan v. State of Orissa, AIR 1967 Ori 4.

(iii) The benefit of this Act can not be extended to a person who has indulged in an act which has resulted into an explosive situation leading to possibilities of communal tension; Ahmed v. S tate of Rajasthan, AIR 1967 Raj 190.


4. Power of court to release certain offenders on probation of good conduct

(1) When any person is found guilty of having committed an offence not punishable with death or imprisonment for life and the court by which the person is found guilty is of opinion that, having regard to the circumstances of the case including the nature of the offence and the character of the offender, it is expedient to release him on probation of good conduct, then, notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the court may, instead of sentencing him at once to any punishment direct that he be released on his entering into a bond, with or without sureties, to appear and receive sentence when called upon during such period, not exceeding three years, as the court may direct, and in the meantime to keep the peace and be of good behaviour:

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.

(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, in addition pass a supervision order directing that the offender shall remain under the supervision of a probation officer named in the order during such period, not being less than one year, as may be specified therein, and may in such supervision order, impose such conditions as it deems necessary for the due supervision of the offender.

(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.