Default bail

Criminal Procedure Code, Section 167(2) - Default bail  - Lockdown – Covid – Supreme court order extending limitation - High Court referring to order of the Supreme Court dated 23.03.2020 passed in Suo Moto W.P.(C) No.3 of 2020 took the view:      “...The Supreme Court order eclipses all provisions prescribing period of limitation until further orders. Undoubtedly, it eclipses the time prescribed under Section 17(2) of the code of Criminal Procedure...” - Order of this Court dated 23.03.2020 in no manner can be read as extending the period for the prosecution to submit the charge sheet. #2020 SCeJ 947


The limitation for filing petitions/applications/ suits/ appeals/all other proceedings was extended to obviate lawyers/litigants to come physically to file such proceedings in respective Courts/Tribunals. The order was passed to protect the litigants/lawyers whose petitions/ applications/ suits/ appeals/all other proceedings would become time barred they being not able to physically come to file such proceedings. The order was for the benefit of the litigants who have to take remedy in law as per the applicable statute for a right. The law of limitation bars the remedy but not the right. When this Court passed the above order for extending the limitation for filing petitions/ applications/ suits/ appeals/all other proceedings, the order was for the benefit of those who have to take remedy, whose remedy may be barred by time because they were unable to come physically to file such proceedings. The order dated 23.03.2020 cannot be read to mean that it ever intended to extend the period of filing charge sheet by police as contemplated under Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The Investigating Officer could have submitted/filed the charge sheet before the (Incharge) Magistrate. Therefore, even during the lockdown and as has been done in so many cases the charge-sheet could have been filed/submitted before the Magistrate (Incharge) and the Investigating Officer was not precluded from filing/submitting the charge-sheet even within the stipulated period before the Magistrate (Incharge). [Para 17]


Held further, the order of this Court dated 23.03.2020 never meant to curtail any provision of Code of Criminal Procedure or any other statute which was enacted to protect the Personal Liberty of a person. The right of prosecution to file a charge sheet even after a period of 60 days/ 90 days is not barred. The prosecution can very well file a charge sheet after 60 days/90 days but without filing a charge sheet they cannot detain an accused beyond a said period when the accused prays to the court to set him at liberty due to non-filing of the charge sheet within the period prescribed. The right of prosecution to carry on investigation and submit a charge sheet is not akin to right of liberty of a person enshrined under Article 21 and reflected in other statutes including Section 167, Cr.P.C.  #2020 SCeJ 947 

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