The word probation is derived from the Latin Word “Probare”. In legal parlance probation means the release of an offender from prison, subject to a period of good behaviour. According to Black’s Law Dictionary probation is “a court imposed criminal sentence that, subject to stated conditions, releases a convicted person into a community instead of sending the criminal to jail or prison.” It is also a modern means and technique of treatment of young offenders.

Probation is the status of a convicted offender during a period of suspension of the sentence in which he is given liberty conditioned on his good behavior and in which the state by a personal supervision attempts to assist him to maintain good behavior.


The history of probation service is old as mankind. In the history we find that Ashoka released the offenders 25 times in his 26 years regime. In Ancient times on king’s birth day or on full moon day , the prisoners who had maintained a good conduct might be released.

In India the probation system got recognized in the year 1898. Sec 562 of the code of criminal procedure, authorised the curt to release the person who is convicted of theft in a building, dishonest misappropriation, cheating, or any other offence under the IPC punishable with not more than 2 years imprisonment on probation of good conduct.  The Indian Jail committee also recommended for release of young offenders on probation. In the Year 1923 the Code of  Criminal procedure was amended and it was provided that all women and all persons under the age 21 years may be released on probation in case of offences not punishable with imprisonment for more than 7 years.


  1. To provide for release of offenders on probation or after due admonition.
  2. To avert and avoid congestion in jail population.
  3. To protect the young offenders from the clutches and clasps of jail birds.


  • When an accused for an offence punishable with death
  • When an accused is found guilty of having committed an offence punishable with imprisonment for life
  • In case of a reprehensible offence of rape the court cannot release the convict on probation.
  • It is not applicable in case of offences of kidnapping or abduction.
  • It cannot be applicable to offences punishable under section 304A of the IPC.
  • It cannot be applicable in case of offences of kidnapping of girl with commercial motive.

It must be stated that the provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act are not confined to juveniles alone, but extend to adults also. Again, provisions of the Act are not only confined to offences committed under the Indian Penal Code but they extend to offences under other special laws such as the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947; the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954; the Customs Act, 1962; the Prevention of Black Marketing & Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980; the Conservation of Foreign Exchange & Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974, Narcotic Drugs & Psychotrophic Substances Act, 1985 etc.

Sec 4 can be restored to when the court considers the circumstances of the case, particularly the nature of the offence and the court forms its opinion it is expedient, suitable and appropriate for accomplishing a specific object that the offender can be release on probation of good conduct.


  • In appropriation cases the Court may release the offenders on probation of good conduct.
  • The Court may award reasonable compensation for loss or injured caused o any person by the commission of the offence.
  • The Court may pass an order of costs of the proceedings
  • The amount ordered to be paid as compensation or costs may e recovered as a fine. Etc.


The following person can prefer an appeal

  1. The complainant
  2. The convicted person
  3. The State

Section 11 of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 widens the scope of probation by adding an enabling provision regarding the competence of the Courts to make order under the Act in appeal and revision and powers of the appellate and revisional courts in this regard. The higher Courts have been empowered to grant probation in appropriate cases, which was denied to the accused by the lower court. They may also cancel probation granted by the trial court, where it is expedient in order to prevent the misuse of probation.

The Court is required to consider the following facts and formalities for passing sentence of imprisonment:

  • Nature of the offence
  • Character of the offender
  • Call for a report from the probation officer
  • Any other information available to the character and physical and mental condition of the offender
  • The Court must record reasons for passing such order.

It helps to the accused who is under probation to follow law and rehabilitation in society. It’s importance described under the following points :-

  1. Under probation system, accused can be saved them dangerous atmosphere of prison where joining of habitual offender. It is parable to the first offender to influences his evils on the other hand, he can be saved to state prisoner by the society in which procedure in heart inferiority complex and he any again commits crime and join illegal activation for society.
  2. Probationary accused feels control of probation officer in which society did not opposite his offence only provided a one chance to reform him if the commits misuse this chance them he will penalize and will send to Jail.
  3. Under probation accused is under deterrence which is bounded to make well decipema to him who is probationary released offenders.
  4. During this period of probation it helps to accused to collect such value which is convenient to live his life to provide freedom which is essential for a good citizen of society.
  5. Great benefit of probation that accused can relate his family and the can participate his responsibility of his family and he can earn money to livelihood for his family to do any employment work or to do any occupation.
  6. In probation, probationary accused do his self rehabilitation in society be self efforts in which self dependency and self motivated persons are improve him.

An offender who is placed on probation is initially assessed to determine how likely he or she is to re-offend, and the level of risk that the offender poses to the community. The offender is assigned to a Probation Officer who will assist the offender to develop positive goals and skills directed to a law-abiding lifestyle, and will monitor the offender’s progress. The probation officer will work with the probationer to analyze why the offending behavior occurred, and to draw up an individual case plan with the offender to address those areas that incline the offender towards criminal conduct. The plans take into account the needs of the offender, the type of offence, and the offender’s risk level.

The success of probation is entirely in the hands of the State Government and the resources it allots to the programmers. Resources are needed to employ trained probation officers, to set up homes for that on probation and also for their training besides others. Thus while concluding it can be said that the concept of Probation would be effective only where the judiciary and the administration work together there must be a common understanding between the Magistrate (or) Judge and the Probation Officer. Probation would be effective only when there is a sincere attempt made to implement it. It would be of great benefit for a country like India, where the jails are often overcrowded, with frequent human rights violations which would harden the human inside a person. Probation is an affirmation of the human inside every being and it must be given the importance.



  4. Image Source: Law Web