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Accused entitled for bail if chargesheet isn’t filed within specified period

 An accused in a case is entitled for ‘default bail’ if the investigating agency fails to complete the probe within the statutory period.

Published: 22nd April 2019 09:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd April 2019 09:49 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  An accused in a case is entitled for ‘default bail’ if the investigating agency fails to complete the probe within the statutory period. If the concerned court is satisfied that they have been in custody for a statutory period of 90 or 60 days, as the case may be, and that the probe agency has not filed a charge-sheet within the specified period, it is the accused’s indefeasible right that the bail application be considered. It is now the duty of the court to release the detenu on bail under Section 167 CrPC. 

However, the accused can continue to be kept in custody even beyond the specified period, until they furnish the bail as directed by the court. In fact, if the investigation is completed and the charge-sheet is filed during this extended period, then this ‘indefeasible right’ will stand extinguished.

For instance, in actor Sanjay Dutt’s case, the Supreme Court had said that on the expiry of 90 days or 60 days, as the case may be, an indefeasible right accrues in his favour for being released on bail, if the investigating agency fails to complete the probe. That is, if he is prepared to and furnishes the bail.

In one such case before the High Court, a crime was registered against the accused-petitioner for the offences punishable under Section 9-A, read with Section 25-A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. According to Section 25-A, if any person breaches an order made under Section 9-A, they shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term up to 10 years.

They shall also be liable to a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh. The said accused-petitioner had been in judicial custody for more than six months, and was denied regular bail more than once. He then moved the High Court with a plea to be enlarged on bail. The accused-petitioner’s counsel contended that his client was entitled to default bail as the final investigation report was not filed within the prescribed period. 

After hearing the case and perusing the material on record, Justice B Siva Sankara Rao granted the default bail, in view of Section 167 CrPC. The bail, however, is subject to conditions. The accused-petitioner shall execute a self-bond for `50,000 and report before the investigating officer every Wednesday and Sunday until the charge-sheet is filed. Thereafter, he shall attend the trial court once in a month and shall not leave the State without the judge’s prior permission. If the petitioner fails to attend the trial court, then his bail shall be cancelled forthwith by the trial court, the judge noted, while disposing the case.

An ‘indefeasible right’
If the concerned court is satisfied that they have been in custody for a statutory period of 90 or 60 days, as the case may be, and that the probe agency has not filed a charge-sheet within the specified period, it is the accused’s indefeasible right that the bail application be considered. It is now the duty of the court to release the detenu on bail under Section 167 CrPC. However, the accused can continue to be kept in custody even beyond the specified period, until they furnish the bail. In fact, if the investigation is completed and the charge-sheet is filed during this extended period, then this right will stand extinguished



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