Background of the case :-
(1) Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court which while releasing an accused on default bail/statutory bail, imposed a condition to deposit Rs.8,00,000.
(2) The court noted that the High Court had imposed such a condition taking into consideration that earlier before the 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, it said.
(3) The High Court imposed another condition directing the accused to report before the concerned police station daily at 10:00 a.m. for interrogation until further orders.
(1) Allowing the appeal filed by the accused against imposition of this condition, the Court referring to Section 167 CrPC observed that, 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.
(2) “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. 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.As observed by this Court in the case of “Rakesh Kumar Paul vs. State of Assam, (2017) 15 SCC 67” and in other decisions, the accused is entitled to default bail/statutory bail, subject to the eventuality occurring in Section 167, Cr.P.C., namely, 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 and the accused applies for default bail and is prepared to furnish bail.”
(3) The court also added that 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.
(4) The Court also observed that another condition imposed by the High Court, namely, directing the accused to report before the concerned police station daily at 10:00 a.m., until further orders, for interrogation is concerned, is also unsustainable, as it is too harsh.
(5) The Court said, “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.”
Case Title : Saravanan vs. State
CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 681682 OF 2020
Coram: Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah
Dated : 15-10-2020