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SC : Accused is eligible for default bail, after being in jail for stipulated time and investigation is not completed

Default Bail is Indefeasible Right of the Accused
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Thursday, the Supreme Court held that accused can get the default bail/statutory bail under Section 167(2) of Cr.P.C. if the accused has spent stipulated time in jail and investigation not completed nor the chargesheet filed.

“the only requirement for getting the default bail/statutory bail under Section 167(2), Cr.P.C. is that the accused is in jail for more than 60 or 90 days, as the case may be, and within 60 or 90 days, as the case may be, the investigation is not completed and no chargesheet is filed by 60th or 90th day and the accused applies for default bail and is prepared to furnish bail.”

The Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah set aside the condition imposed by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court to deposit rupees 8 lakhs, and said that circumstances are different in regular bail and default bail.

“The circumstances while considering the regular bail application under Section 437 Cr.P.C. are different, while considering the application for default bail/statutory bail.”

The bench referred the Rakesh Kumar Paul Vs State of Assam according to which “default bail is indefeasible right” of the accused if investigation is not completed within stipulated time.

“as observed by this Court in catena of decisions and more particularly in the case of Rakesh Kumar Paul (supra), where the investigation is not completed within 60 days or 90 days, as the case may be, and no chargesheet is filed by 60th or 90th day, accused gets an ‘indefeasible right’ to default bail, and the accused becomes entitled to default bail once the accused applies for default bail and furnish bail.”

The bench further stated that, imposing condition while granting default bail would frustrate the objective.

“No other condition of deposit of the alleged amount involved can be imposed. Imposing such condition while releasing the accused on default bail/statutory bail would frustrate the very object and purpose of default bail under Section 167(2), Cr.P.C.”

The bench stated that, this can not be the ground to impose condition in default bail, even if the wife of the accused filed an affidavit to deposit rupees 7 lakhs.

“it appears that the High Court while releasing the appellant on default bail/statutory bail has imposed the condition to deposit Rs.8,00,000/taking into consideration that earlier before the learned Magistrate and while considering the regular bail application under Section 437 Cr.P.C., the wife of the accused filed an affidavit to deposit Rs.7,00,000/. That cannot be a ground to impose the condition to deposit the amount involved, while granting default bail/statutory bail.”

On another condition to the accused, according to which the accused has to visit the police station daily on a particular time, the bench said this “too harsh”.

“Instead, condition which can be imposed is directing the appellant to cooperate with the investigating officer in completing the investigation and to remain present before the concerned police station for investigation/interrogation as and when called for, and on breach the investigating officer can approach the concerned court for cancellation of the bail on breach of such condition.”

The bench allowed the petition in the matter (Saravanan Vs State represented by the Inspector of Police) and set aside the condition (b) and modified the condition (d).

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