The Supreme Court on Wednesday held that an investigating agency should not file a charge sheet in court without completing a probe only to deprive default bail to an accused under Section 167 of CrPC.
"Without completing the investigation of a case, a charge sheet or prosecution complaint cannot be filed by an investigating agency only to deprive an arrested accused of his right to default bail under Section 167(2) of the CrPC. Such a chargesheet, if filed by an investigating authority without first completing the investigation, would not extinguish the right to default bail under Section 167(2) CrPC. The trial court, in such cases, cannot continue to remand an arrested person beyond the maximum stipulated time without offering the arrested person default bail," the verdict of the top court stated.
According to section 167 of the CrPC, an accused will be entitled to default bail if the investigating agency fails to file a charge sheet within 60 days from the date of remand. For certain category of offences, the stipulated period can be extended till 90 days.
A bench of Justices Krishna Murari and CT Ravikumar said if it holds that charge sheets can be filed without completing the investigation, the same can be used for prolonging remand and ensure that the fundamental rights guaranteed to accused persons is violated.
The verdict of the top court came on a plea filed by Ritu Chhabria seeking the release of her husband on default bail.
The apex noted that the trial court, instead of offering default bail to the accused, mechanically accepted the incomplete charge sheets filed by the investigating agency, and further continued the remand of the accused beyond the maximum period specified.
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The bench further said it must be remembered that Constitution has entrusted the Supreme Court with the most important task of protecting civil liberties of individuals, and the society at large.
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