The Supreme Court recently refused to cancel the default bail granted to an accused under Unlawful Activities(Prevention) Act, 1967.
While considering the appeal filed by Union of India, the bench comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Ajay Rastogi explained the requirements of extension of remand of the accused beyond 90 days in cases registered under UAPA.
The bench referred to proviso to Section 43D (2)(b) of the UAPA which states that, if it is not possible to complete the investigation within the said period of ninety days, the Court may if it is satisfied with the report of the Public Prosecutor indicating the progress of the investigation and the specific reasons for the detention of the accused beyond the said period of ninety days, extend the said period up to one hundred and eighty days. The bench then listed the essential ingredients of the proviso:
-It has not been possible to complete the investigation within the period of 90 days.-A report to be submitted by the Public Prosecutor.-Said report indicating the progress of investigation and the specific reasons for detention of the accused beyond the period of 90 days.-Satisfaction of the Court in respect of the report of the Public Prosecutor.
In this case, the Madras High Court had granted default bail to Muhammed Mubarak after setting aside order of the NIA Special Court. Mubarak was accused in a crime registered after a spokesperson of Hindu Front at Coimbatore, was brutally hacked to death by a gang of unknown persons on 22nd September, 2016. The Special Court allowed the NIA application, which was later set aside by Madras High Court.
Though the Supreme Court agreed with the Special Court reasons to extend the remand, it took note of the subsequent developments, and said it is not inclined to cancel the default bail. It said:
"We are satisfied that the specific reasons assigned by the Public Prosecutor fulfil the mandate and requirement of Section 43D(2)(b) of the UAP Act, 1967 and that was considered by the Special Court in detail who after recording its satisfaction, granted detention of the accused respondent for a further period of 90 days under its Order dated 22nd March, 2018. … We cannot be oblivious of the changed circumstances which has been brought to our notice regarding the FIR (Cr. No. 735/2016) registered at Thudialur Police Station, Coimbatore for the incident of 22nd September, 2016. Charge-sheet has been 12 filed against all the four accused persons(A-1 to A-4) including the accused respondent on 7th April, 2018/21st June, 2018 and all the accused nos. 1, 2 and 3 are on bail from 19th June, 2017, 1 st November, 2017 and 12th October, 2018 respectively and the matter is pending for framing of charge and it is not the case of the appellant that the present accused respondent after being enlarged on bail in compliance of the impugned judgment dated 12th September, 2018 has committed any breach or violated the conditions of grant of bail. "