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Security for Good Behaviour from Suspected Persons under Section 109 of the code of Criminal Procedure

In the old Code, a provision existed for the taking of security for good behaviour from vagrants and suspected persons. This provision applied not only to persons taking precautions to conceal their presence, but also to persons who had no ostensible means of subsistence or who could not give a satisfactory account of themselves.

When the matter came up before the Joint Select Committee, it was strongly urged that this provision was being widely abused, and that innocent persons were sent to jail, either for showing better statistics or for other irrelevant and objectionable purposes.

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However, the other view was that the provision ought to be retained, as it was indispensable for the maintenance of law and order. In fact, practically all the State Governments opposed the deletion of the provision, on the ground that the incidence of crime would increase, and professional thieves and anti-social elements would have a field day. The Joint Committee, therefore, retained the provision in respect of persons taking precautions to conceal their presence, whilst deleting that as regards vagrants.

The expression “concealing his presence” is wide one. The words are sufficient to cover the concealment of bodily presence in a house or a grave or under a bridge, etc. However, the expression would also cover a case where a man conceals his appearance, as for instance, by wearing a mask or covering his face, etc. (Abdul Gafoor,—A.I.R. 1943 All. 367)

S. 109 comes into play as soon as precautions are taken to conceal, it being immaterial whether such precautions are successful or not. (Ganpati,—39 Cr. L.J. 807)

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