Default Bail : State Cannot Take Advantage Of Filing One Charge Sheet First And Seeking Time To File Supplementary Charge-sheets To Extend The Time Limit U/S 167(2)
The Supreme Court claimed that the investigation period set out in Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure cannot be expanded by filing a supplementary charge sheet relating to UAPA violations. While granting default bail to Fakhrey Alam, an individual convicted under Section 18 of the UAPA Act, the bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and R. Subhash Reddy reiterated that default bail under the first proviso of Section 167(2) of the Cr.P.C. is a constitutional right and not merely a legislative right. The court noted that the charge sheet/supplementary charge sheet under the UAPA Act was not filed within the 180-day timeframe in this case, and that it was only after a 211-day period that this charge sheet was filed.
The court went on to claim that since the UAPA Act's implications are so serious, default bail is not merely a constitutional right, but rather a part of the legal process defined by statute under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. We must not lose sight of the fact that the Legislature intended for the investigation to be concluded in 24 hours, but this was never found to be practicable in practise. In these cases, Section 167 of the Criminal Procedure Code stipulated a time limit under which the investigation could be concluded, depending on the nature of the offence. Since liberty is a constitutional right, time limits were set in which the accused will be entitled to default bail, which is a precious right, according to the court.