26 April 2022 4:26 AM GMT
The Orissa High Court has reiterated that while counting the statutory period for the purpose of grant of 'default bail' under Section 167(2), Cr.P.C., the 'date of remand' has to be excluded. A Single Judge Bench of Justice Bibhu Prasad Routray held, "Law is no more res integra on this issue. Recently in the case of M. Ravindran v.Intelligence Officer, Directorate of...
The Orissa High Court has reiterated that while counting the statutory period for the purpose of grant of 'default bail' under Section 167(2), Cr.P.C., the 'date of remand' has to be excluded. A Single Judge Bench of Justice Bibhu Prasad Routray held,
"Law is no more res integra on this issue. Recently in the case of M. Ravindran v.Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, the Hon'ble Supreme Court has reiterated the law that the date on which the accused was remanded to judicial custody has to be excluded from calculation of statutory period of 180 days."
The petitioner is an accused of transporting and possessing 1 KG 34 grams of brown sugar (heroine). He was arrested and remanded to custody on 4th September, 2021. The alleged offences are under Sections 21(c)/29 of the NDPS Act. Since then, the petitioner is in custody.
On 3rd March, 2022 the petitioner through his lawyer filed an application to release him on default bail in terms of Section 36-A(4) of the NDPS Act read with Section 167(2) of the Cr.P.C. On the same day prosecution also filed a petition praying for extension of the period of investigation for a further period of three months in terms of the proviso to Section 36-A(4) Cr.P.C. The petitioner through his lawyer objected such prayer of extension sought by the prosecution.
After hearing both the sides, the Special Judge allowed the prayer for extension and granted further period of three months to complete the investigation mainly on the ground of spread of COVID-19 infection and consequent restricted lockdown situation. Here, the petitioner challenges his further remand to custody by contending that since the statutory period of 180 days to complete the investigation has ended on 2nd March, 2022 and the prayer to extend the period of investigation was made on 181st day of the initial remand only after the prayer for default bail was raised, the rejection of his prayer by the learned Special Judge is illegal.
Notably, the petitioner did not raise the point that he was not given any opportunity of hearing before granting extension of investigation period and such extension was granted only after hearing the petitioner and considering his objections.
The Court made a reference to the law laid down by the Apex Court in M. Ravindran v. Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, wherein it was held that while computing the period under Section 167(2), the day on which accused was remanded to judicial custody has to be excluded and the day on which challan/charge-sheet is filed in the court has to be included.
Accordingly, the Court reiterated that the day of initial remand is to be excluded from the statutory period. By excluding 4th September, 2021 from counting, 180 days completed on 3rd March, 2022 when the prayer for extension was allowed by the learned Special Judge. Hence, it concluded, unless statutory period of 180 days is completed, no right of default bail accrues in favour of the accused. As such in the given facts of the case, the Court found no merit in the prayer of the petitioner to release him on default bail.
Case Title: Manoranjan Das v. State of Orissa
Case No.: CRLMC No. 652 of 2022
Judgment Dated: 25 April 2022
Coram: Justice Bibhu Prasad Routray
Counsel for the Petitioner: Mr. S.K. Bhanjadeo, Advocate
Counsel for the Respondent: Ms. Samapika Mishra, Additional Standing Counsel
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ori) 55
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