- Recently, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed an appeal against the Bombay High Court order, which granted statutory bail to lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj.
- Bail is the conditional/provisional release of a person held under legal custody (in matters which are yet to be pronounced by the Court), by undertaking a promise to appear in the Court as and when required.
- This is a right to bail that accrues when the police fail to complete investigation within a specified period in respect of a person in judicial custody.
- It is also known as statutory bail.
- This is enshrined in Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
- Supreme Court Judgment: In Bikramjit Singh case 2020, the Supreme Court had observed that the accused gets an indefeasible right to ‘default bail’ if he makes an application after the maximum period for investigation of an offence is over, and before a charge sheet is filed.
- Right to default bail under Section 167(2), CrPC not merely a statutory right, but part of procedure established by law under Article 21.
- Underlying Principle: In general, the right to bail on the investigation agency’s default is considered an ‘indefeasible right’, but it should be availed of at the appropriate time.
- Default bail is a right, regardless of the nature of the crime.
- The stipulated period within which the charge sheet has to be filed begins from the day the accused is remanded for the first time.
- Under Section 173 of CrPC, the police officer is obligated to file a report after the completion of the necessary investigation of an offence. This report is called the Charge Sheet in common parlance.
- The issue of default bail arises where it is not possible for the police to complete an investigation in 24 hours, the police produce the suspect in court and seek orders for either police or judicial custody.
- For most offences, the police have 60 days to complete the investigation and file a final report before the court.
- However, where the offence attracts death sentence or life imprisonment, or a jail term of not less than 10 years, the period available is 90 days.
- In other words, a magistrate cannot authorise a person’s judicial remand beyond the 60-or 90-day limit.
- At the end of this period, if the investigation is not complete, the court shall release the person “if he is prepared to and does furnish bail”.
SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT