0

Accused gets an indefeasible right to default bail – Supreme Court

In the case of Saravanan Vs State represented by the Inspector of Police [Arising from S.L.P. (Criminal) Nos.43864387/ 2020] Hon’ble Supreme Court held that 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.

The appellant was arrested and remanded to the judicial custody for the offences punishable under Section 420 of the IPC. The appellant filed an application before the learned Judicial Magistrate seeking bail under Section 437 Cr.P.C. The wife of the appellant filed an affidavit before the learned Magistrate and assured to pay Seven Lakhs of the alleged amount of Rupees Fifteen lakhs Sixty Seven thousand Three hundred thirty eight only. The learned Magistrate released the appellant on bail on the condition to deposit Rupees Seven Lakh in the court and after release pay the remaining amount.

Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with condition of the order passed by the learned Magistrate releasing the appellant on bail, the appellant approached the High Court. The High Court dismissed the said application with liberty to the appellant to approach the Magistrate Court for any modification and observed that if any modification is required, the same may be considered by the Magistrate. Thereafter, the appellant filed an application before the learned Sessions Court to release the appellant on default bail/statutory bail under Section 167(2), Cr.P.C. The appellant was arrested and remanded for more than 101 days and the investigation was not completed and the police had not filed the final report within the period provided under Section 167 Cr.P.C. The said application came to be dismissed by the learned Sessions Court on the ground that earlier when the appellant applied for regular bail and which was allowed on condition to deposit money in the Court and the same had not been complied with, and despite the liberty reserved by the High Court to approach the Magistrate Court for modification of the conditions, instead of doing so, the appellant had filed an application for default bail/statutory bail under Section 167(2), Cr.P.C., therefore, the learned Sessions Court dismissed the said application.

Feeling aggrieved, the appellant approached the High Court and prayed to release the appellant on default bail/statutory bail. It was the case on behalf of the appellant that non-deposit of any amount which was required to be deposited pursuant to the order passed by the learned Magistrate, imposed while releasing the appellant on regular bail under Section 437, Cr.P.C., shall not come in the way of the appellant in getting default bail/statutory bail under Section 167(2), Cr.P.C. High Court had imposed the condition that the appellant shall deposit a sum of Rs.8,00,000/before the learned Magistrate.

It was submitted by the appellant that as observed by this Court in catena of decisions, the scheme of Code of Criminal Procedure delineates that provisions of Section 167 Cr.P.C. give due regard to the personal liberty of a person. Without submission of charge sheet within 60 days or 90 days, as may be applicable, an accused cannot be detained by the Police. It was submitted that the conditions imposed by the High Court while releasing the appellant on default bail/statutory bail are against the scheme of Section 167, Cr. P.C.

Court observed that, “We are of the opinion that the High Court has committed a grave error in imposing condition that the appellant shall deposit a sum of Rs.8,00,000/while releasing the appellant on default bail/statutory bail. It appears that the High Court has imposed such a condition taking into consideration the fact that earlier at the time of hearing of the regular bail application, before the learned Magistrate, the wife of the appellant filed an affidavit agreeing to deposit Rs.7,00,000/.”

Court held that, “Therefore, 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 charge-sheet is filed by 60th or 90th day and the accused applies for default bail and is prepared to furnish bail. No other condition of deposit of the alleged amount involved can be imposed.”

Click to read judgement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Open chat