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S. 167(2), CrPC | Only 'Date Of Submission' Of Chargesheet Is Relevant For Default Bail, Not 'Date Of Preparation': Orissa High Court

Jyoti Prakash Dutta
24 April 2022 2:09 PM GMT
S. 167(2), CrPC | Only Date Of Submission Of Chargesheet Is Relevant For Default Bail, Not Date Of Preparation: Orissa High Court
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The Orissa High Court has held that 'date of submission' of chargesheet is the only relevant date that should be taken into consideration while granting 'default bail' under Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. 'Date of preparation' of chargesheet is immaterial unless it is produced before the Court on the same day. A Single Judge Bench of Justice Bibhu Prasad...

The Orissa High Court has held that 'date of submission' of chargesheet is the only relevant date that should be taken into consideration while granting 'default bail' under Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. 'Date of preparation' of chargesheet is immaterial unless it is produced before the Court on the same day.

A Single Judge Bench of Justice Bibhu Prasad Routray ruled,

"As per the language used in Section 167, Cr.P.C., the detention is authorized pending completion of investigation and completion of investigation leads to submission of report under Section 173(2), Cr.P.C. The words used in Section 173(2), Cr.P.C. is 'as soon as'. Therefore, the inference is that, the investigation has been completed only when the charge-sheet is submitted to the court. Thus, the date of completion of investigation is the date of submission of charge-sheet and reverse."

Factual Background:

On the allegation of transporting and possessing 52 kg 850 grams of contraband ganja, the petitioners were arrested and taken to custody on 18.07.2021 for commission of offence under Section 20(b)(ii)(C) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act). When the investigation was pending, they were remanded to custody by order of the learned Sessions Judge-cum-Special Judge, Nayagarh and since then, they were in custody. The investigation continued and 180 days completed on 13.01.2022.

The charge-sheet was submitted on 16th January, 2022. But the date mentioned under the signature of the Investigating Officer (IO) at the last page was 10th January, 2022. It was despite of the fact that date mentioned in the first page of the charge-sheet was 13th January, 2022. On 17.01.2022, a bail application was filed by the counsel on behalf of the accused persons praying for grant of bail on the ground that since the charge-sheet was not filed within a period of 180 days from the date of initial remand, the accused persons should be released on bail.

The Sessions Judge-cum-Special Judge, Nayagarh rejected the application for bail filed under Sec.167(2) of the Cr.P.C. by order dated 17.01.2022 on the ground that charge-sheet was within the stipulated time as it was 'prepared' on 10.01.2021 as per the date mentioned on the last page of the same. This decision was challenged in the present petition.

Contentions:

Mr. J. Panda, counsel for the petitioners, contended that rejection of the application for bail is against the principles enumerated in Section 167(2) of the Cr.P.C. and such an interpretation of the Sessions Judge with regard to the date of submission of charge-sheet is not permissible. Further, he relied on a decision of the High Court in Lambodar Bag v. State of Orissa, (2018) 71 OCR-31. Accordingly, he contended that rejection of bail for non-completion of investigation within 180 days from the date of custody is illegal and liable to be set aside.

Observations of the Court:

The Court noted that admittedly charge-sheet was filed on 16th January, 2022. Therefore, it held, irrespective of any date mentioned regarding preparation of the charge-sheet, the date of its submission before the Court is only relevant for the purpose of default bail under Section 167 (2) of the Cr.P.C. Under the stipulations of Section 167, Cr.P.C., detention is authorized pending completion of investigation and completion of investigation leads to submission of report under Section 173(2), Cr.P.C.

Further, the Court stressed that the words used in Section 173(2), Cr.P.C. is 'as soon as'. Thus, there shall be an inference that the investigation is completed only when the charge-sheet is submitted to the court. Thus, the date of completion of investigation is the date of submission of charge-sheet and vice-versa.

In the instant case, when the charge-sheet was submitted on 16th January, 2022 beyond 180 days period, the right of default bail accrued in favour of the accused. Applying the principles as decided by the Court in Lambodar Bag (supra) to the present facts of the case, it was felt by the Court that in the present case, the indefeasible right of the petitioners for their release on default bail has been violated.

Accordingly, the order dated 17.01.2022 of the Sessions Judge-cum-Special Judge, Nayagarh to the extent of rejecting the prayer of grant of bail under Section 167(2) of the Cr.P.C. to the accused was set aside. Resultantly, the petitioners were directed to be released on bail.

Case Title: Pramesh [email protected] & Anr. v. State of Orissa

Case No.: CRLMC No. 362 of 2022

Judgment Dated: 20 April 2022

Coram: Justice Bibhu Prasad Routray

Counsel for the Petitioners: Mr. J. Panda, Advocate

Counsel for the Respondent: Ms. Samapika Mishra, Additional Standing Counsel

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ori) 54

Click Here To Read/Download Judgment 


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