Chhattisgarh High Court: Narendra Kumar Vyas J. allowed the petition and set aside the impugned order.
The facts of the case are such that the petitioner was found in possession of 145 strips of Spasmo Proxyvon Plus total of 1160 capsules and 90 strips total 720 capsules of Spasmo Proxyvon Plus which are prohibited psychotropic drugs. The seized quantity of the psychotropic drugs was higher than minimum quantity but less than commercial quantity.
The petitioners were charged with offence punishable under Section 22(b) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (i.e. NDPS Act). The petitioners were thereby arrested and a bail application was filed under Sections 167(2) Criminal Procedure Code i.e. Cr.PC seeking bail on the ground of non-filing of charge-sheet within 60 days from the date of police custody of accused. The Trial Court rejected the bail application. Assailing which present application was filed.
(i) Whether grant of bail as provided under Section 167(2) of the CrPC indefeasible right of the accused and prosecution can defeat the same by filing final report after expiry of maximum period prescribed under the provisions. ?
(ii) Whether the holidays will be accountable in computing the period of 60 days for granting benefit of bail and from which date the maximum period for filing of charge sheet is countable?
The Court relied on judgment M. Ravindran v. Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, (2021) 2 SCC 485 and observed that from perusal of Section 167(2) CrPC it is quite clear that if challan on the specified period is not submitted, accused is entitled to be enlarged on bail. As per the provisions of Section 167(2) of CrPC, default bail is the right of accused. The object of the provisions of Section 167(2) of CrPC is that State authority should not take any malafide belated action against accused persons.
The Court relied on judgment Central Bureau of Investigation v. Nazir Ahmed Sheikh, (1996) 2 SCC 367 and observed that with regard to counting of holidays for counting 60 days when 10-04-2021 and 11-04-2021 were Government Holidays, it is submitted that holidays will be counted for calculating 60 days as provisions of Section 10 of General Clauses Act are not attracted. The Court in the instant case held that period for filing of charge sheet would begin to run and be counted from the next date of arrest of the accused. However, the date of accused being sent on remand would be excluded but the date on which charge-sheet was filed is to be included.
The court observed that it is crystal clear that charge-sheet was not filed within the maximum period of 60 days. As per the law laid down by the Supreme Court right of the accused to get default bail is accrued and it is indefeasible right of the accused which cannot be defeated by the prosecution after completion period as per provisions of Section 167(2) CrPC.
The Court held “the trial Court is not justified in dismissing the aforesaid application by saying that 10.04.2021 and 11.04.2021 were holidays, therefore, charge-sheet on 12.04.2021 is filed within 60 days and by subsequent filing of charge-sheet the right of the accused was forfeited.”
[Vinay Dubey v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2021 SCC OnLine Chh 1974, decided on 09-07-2021]
Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.
For Petitioners: Mr. Shailendra Dubey
For State: Mr. Rakesh Sahu