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Nothing in Section 482 Cr.P.C. shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make orders: High Court Of New Delhi

The petitioner’s revision petition, challenging the dismissal of his application seeking default bail under Section 167(2) Cr.P.C. and the same issue was held in the judgement passed by a single bench judge comprising HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE MANOJ KUMAR OHRI, in the matter ABHISHEK V. STATE NCT OF DELHI [CRL.M.C. 2242/2020]dealt with an issue mentioned above.

The present petition has been filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C. on behalf of the petitioner assailing the order dated 29.10.2020 passed by the learned Addl. Sessions Judge-02, Central District, Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi. Briefly, the facts involved in the present case are that on 16.01.2020, a case bearing FIR No. 37/2020 came to be registered against the petitioner and his family members under Sections 304B/498A/406/34 IPC at Police Station Burari, Delhi, on a complaint filed by his father-in-law i.e., father of the deceased.

Before proceeding further, let me capture the fact situation existing on that date in the NCT of Delhi. Because of the COVID-19 situation, although physical filing and listing of bail applications were not permitted, a mechanism for electronic filing of urgent applications including bail applications was available through a dedicated email being [email protected] The bail applications were to be heard via Video Conferencing mode.

As no charge sheet was filed during the prescribed time of 90 days, which comes to an end on 18.04.2020, an application under Section 167(2) Cr.P.C. on behalf of the petitioner was filed by his counsel on 20.04.2020 through the aforementioned dedicated email address. The email containing a prayer for default bail was sent at about 1:16 PM on 20.04.2020 with the subject “Fwd: Urgent hearing of bail application u/s 167(2) CrPC on behalf of Abhishek in FIR NO 37/2020 PS BURRI U/S 304B/498A/406/34 IPC”.

The nationwide lockdown continued and no copy of the charge sheet was served on the petitioner. Thereafter, the petitioner applied for regular bail on 05.05.2020 which came to be dismissed vide order dated 30.05.2020.

Meanwhile learned counsel for the petitioner has pressed the prayer made for default bail, learned APP has opposed the same by contending that neither of the bail applications filed by the petitioner was maintainable. The facts not being in dispute, the primary issue that arises for consideration before this Court in the fact situation noted hereinabove is whether, on 20.04.2020, the petitioner was entitled to default bail, the CRL.M.C. 2242/2020 ancillary issues being the obligation cast upon the Court to inform the accused of right had accrued in his favour on non-filing of charge sheet in the requisite time and the mode and manner of filing an application seeking default bail.

Later they went through all the matters relating to default bail and cases as well and a few are as follows:

  • Nagesh Kumar Singh v. The State of Uttar Pradesh and Anr., SLP (Crl.) No(s). 6975/2019.
  • Hussainara Khatoon and Others v. Home Secretary, State of Bihar, Patna reported as (1980) 1 SCC 108.
  • Fakhri Alam v. State of Uttar Pradesh reported as 2021 SCC OnLine SC 532.
  • Ravindran v. Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence reported as (2021) 2 SCC 485.

The concerned District Legal Services Authority shall also ensure that the remand Advocates/legal aid counsels posted in criminal courts are instructed to keep an undertrial informed of his right to seek default bail and the date of accrual of such right.

The court perused the facts and argument’s presented, it believed that- “Considering the seriousness of the issue involved, this Court deems it apposite to seek a response from the Registrar General of this Court as well the DG (Prisons) as to the steps being undertaken so that an undertrial is informed of his right to seek ‘default bail’ and that such right is not defeated but rather timely exercised. The response and suggestions, if any, shall be submitted in light of the ‘Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS)’, a platform that came into existence under the aegis of the committee, Supreme Court. Let the response be filed within four weeks from today. List the matter for the aforesaid purpose on 18.11.2021”.

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Judgment Reviewed by: Mandira BS 

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