Suspension of Sentence is a statutory remedy available under Section 389 of
the Criminal Procedure Code that allows a court authority to suspend an
accused's sentence while the appeal is being considered and not finally decided.
The Hon'ble Apex Court and different High Courts have established broader
boundaries and jurisprudence, and the courts would use judicial discretion
within this range of greater parameters and principles.
In simpler terms, Section 389 states that a sentence suspension may be granted
while an appeal is underway, and the accused may be released on bail:
- While an appeal is pending, the appellate court can suspend an accused's
sentence, and the reasons for the suspension must be stated in writing. It
can also order the accused's release if he is held in detention on bail and
files his own personal bail bond.
- In the context of an appeal, the High Court can exercise the authority
conferred on an Appellate Court by this section.
- If a convict informs the Court that he intends to appeal the judgment in
which he was found guilty, the Court shall:
- While on bail, if the person is sentenced to less than three years in
- If a convict's sentence is suspended while he is on bail for a bailable
offence, his sentence is presumed to be suspended unless there are extraordinary
reasons for refusing bail.
- If the appellant is ultimately sentenced to a period of imprisonment or
life in prison, the time he is released will be deducted from the sentence.
When & Why to seek the Suspension of Sentence?
After a conviction, if the appeal isn't decided by the appellate court, the
accused might file a sentence suspension. Section 389 of the Criminal Procedure
Code provides for the suspension of a sentence while an appeal is pending. The
legislature, in its wisdom, devised this clause by reasoning that if the appeal
is expected to take a long time to complete, it would be unjust to keep the
accused in detention for that length of time, since this would render the
accused's appeal meaningless.
Where & Who Can Apply the Suspension of Sentence?
An appellate court, such as the Court of Sessions, the High Court, or the
Hon'ble Supreme Court, can grant Suspension of Sentence under the mandate of
Section 389, CrPC. Any accused person may file an application as long as the
Appellate Court does not decide on the appeal.
Can Suspension of Sentence be Conditional or Unconditional?
Suspension of Sentence in a judicial order can be conditional or unconditional
and it is usually given in the order. When the courts believe that the relief
granted will be misused by the accused or for any other reason relating to
public order, peace, and tranquility, they impose restrictions. The judicial
order's prerequisite requirements usually serve a variety of functions in
support of this provision; for example, an accused's regular attendance at a
police station will limit his presence to the jurisdiction/city specified in the
The term "unconditional suspension of sentence" refers to a sentence that is
simply suspended without any restrictions attached. The courts issue such orders
when there are no discernible threats of any kind.
Does a Suspension of Sentence Mean a Criminal Record is Left Behind?
Yes, an accused's criminal record will be displayed even if the sentence is
suspended. For all intents and purposes, the suspension of sentence functions
similarly to a bail provision following conviction and is unaffected by the
criminal record. Whenever there is a chance, the accused might seek for the
quashing of the FIR or criminal proceedings to clear their criminal records.
Bail and Suspension of Sentence:
The phrases 'bail' and 'suspension of the sentence' are not interchangeable in
criminal law jurisprudence. The accused who requests bail is considered an
undertrial and is subject to Section 437 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC)
for Regular Bail, Section 438 for Anticipatory Bail, or Section 439 of the CrPC
for Special Powers of Sessions Court and High Court.
The accused who seeks Suspension of Sentence is a convicted person who is
subject to Section 389 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The convict's appeal
against his trial court conviction must be pending, and the appellate court is
required by statute to record arguments for sentence suspension in writing. The
fact that the accused was granted bail during the trial and he did not commit
any offence while on bail is of minor importance.
Probation and Suspension of Sentence:
The accused who have had their sentence suspended must adhere to the terms of
their probation or face the possibility of going to prison. The judge determines
the length of probation based on state laws/amendments and the nature of the
criminal charges; probation normally lasts one to five years. The seriousness of
the criminal accusations brought against the accused may also influence the
length of probation.
The following are examples of the conditions and duration of probation
imposed on the accused:
- Providing the probation officer with a report;
- Participating in community service;
- Counseling for drug and alcohol abuse;
- Drug testing at random intervals;
- A requirement for looking for and starting a job;
- Fines and restitution;
- Living at a specific address or in a specific location;
- Regular payment of probation fees, court costs, penalties, or
- In the future, not commit any crimes.