Recently, the bench of Justice Bibhu Prasad Routray of the Orissa High Court has ruled that while granting ‘default bail’ under Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure the ‘date of submission’ of the charge sheet is the only relevant data to consider. The ‘date of preparation’ of the charge sheet is irrelevant unless it is presented to the Court on the same day.
On 17.01.2022, counsel representing accused persons filed a bail application, requesting that the accused persons be released on bail because the charge-sheet had not been filed within 180 days of their initial custody.
Accordingly. there were diffferent dates on different pages of Charge sheet, the charge sheet was filed on January 16, 2022. However, the date listed under the signature of the Investigating Officer (IO) on the last page was January 10, 2022 and the date listed on the first page of the charge sheet was January 13th, 2022.
The Sessions Judge-cum-Special Judge Nayagarh dismissed the application for bail submitted under Section 167(2) of the Cr.P.C. on the grounds that the charge-sheet was ‘prepared’ on 10.01.2021, as stated on the last page.
The High Court observed that the charge sheet was admittedly filed on January 16, 2022 and further ruled that regardless of any date mentioned regarding the charge-preparation, the date of its filing before the Court is solely relevant for the purpose of default bail under Section 167 (2) of the Cr.P.C. Detention is permissible till the conclusion of investigation under Section 167, Cr.P.C., and completion of investigation leads to submission of the report under Section 173(2), Cr.P.C.
The Court emphasizing the terms employed in Section 173(2) of the Cr.P.C. i.e., ‘as soon as’ stated that the investigation will be concluded only when the charge sheet is given to the court. Consequently, the date of completion of the investigation coincides with the date of filing of the charge sheet, and vice versa.
Further refereing to this case the court observed that the charge sheet was submitted on January 16, 2022, after the 180-day limit had expired, the accused was granted default bail. Applying the standards adopted by the Court in Lambodar Bag (supra) to the actual facts of the case, the Court concluded that the petitioner’s constitutional right to release on default bail had been infringed.
Accordingly, the judgment prounced on 17.01.2022 by the Sessions Judge-cum-Special Judge Nayagarh, which dismissed the accused’s petition for bail under Section 167(2) of Cr.P.C was set aside and subsequenty, the court ordered to release the petitioners on bond.