February 21, 2024
Statue of Lady Justice

In accordance with Section 167 of the CrPC, the concerned police officers are required to forward the accused to the closest Judicial Magistrate if the investigation into the offense is not concluded in a 24-hour period while the accused is in custody. If the charges are true, the accused cannot be freed on bond unless a magistrate has periodically approved the duration of their incarceration. If a woman is under the age of eighteen, she will be detained in a remand home or another approved social institution.

default bail meaning

  • This is a right to bail that develops for a person in judicial custody if the police don’t finish their investigation in a timely manner.
  • Another name for default bail under crpc is Statutory Bail.
  • Section 167(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) codifies this.
  • If the police are unable to conclude their investigation within a 24-hour period, they are required under Section 167 (1) to present the suspect to the closest Judicial Magistrate and request orders for either police or judicial custody.
  • A magistrate may impose a 15-day detention order on an accused individual under Section 167(2) of the Code. The accused may be held in judicial custody, where their imprisonment cannot be longer than 15 days, following the police custody period, if approved by the magistrate.
  • Sixty days when an authority is looking into any other offense, or ninety days when looking into an offense that carries a maximum sentence of death, life in prison, or at least ten years in jail.
  • This time frame may change under some other special legislation, such as the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
  • The 180-day period is specified in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
  • The person will be released by the court “if he is prepared to and does furnish bail” if the investigation is not concluded by the end of this period. We call this default bail.

Non-Applicability of a Default Bail

The default bail amount does not apply if:

  • The investigation period has ended and the investigating agency submits a charge sheet or asks for more time before the accused makes such an application, the accused neglects to apply for it.
  • The Magistrate may then decide to extend the time frame for wrapping up the investigation.
  • Nonetheless, the accused may still be released on bond in accordance with other legal provisions of the Code.

landmark judgments on default bail

  • In the case of CBI v Anupam J. Kulkarni, the Supreme Court ruled that a magistrate may grant police detention for a maximum of 15 days following the accused’s arrest. Any additional detention beyond this point must take place in judicial custody, unless the same accused is involved in another case stemming from an unrelated incident or transaction. In these circumstances, the magistrate might think twice before approving police custody.
  • In the case of Uday Mohanlal Acharya v State of Maharashtra, the Supreme Court concluded, citing the ruling in Sanjay Dutt v. State, that the accused would be considered to have exercised his right to default bail at the time he submits an application rather than when he is freed on default bail. The right to default bail will be terminated if an order of default bail is granted in the accused’s favour, but the accused fails to provide bail and a charge sheet is filed in the interim.
  • In the case of Ritu Chhabaria, according to the court, the right to default bail under Section 167(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) is a fundamental right derived from Article 21 of the Constitution, which shields accused people from the State’s unchecked and arbitrary power. The court decided that an incomplete chargesheet filed by the investigating agency without a complete investigation would not violate the accused’s right to default bail.

The Way Forward

  • Examine and Adjust Time Restrictions: In order to guarantee a complete investigation and prevent needless delays, review and adjust the current time restrictions for filing charges in accordance with the complexity of the case.
  • Include Judicial Discretion: By giving courts, the authority to refuse default bail in situations where there is a risk to public safety or where doing so would impede the course of an inquiry, judges will be better equipped to make choices based on the particulars of each case.
  • Improved Inspection and Requirements: Put in place more stringent oversight measures and suitable restrictions, like extensive reporting obligations, before issuing default bail.

The rights of the accused and the efficient running of the investigation must be balanced. Instead of having a single system that applies to all cases, the current system may be modified depending on their complexity.

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