NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has on May 12 ordered that trial courts and high courts across the country would not rely upon its recent judgement while dealing with default bail plea to an accused in view of failure of the investigating agency to file charge sheet within the stipulated time.
A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala said that the April 26 judgement in Ritu Chhabaria case should not be referred to when considering default bail.
On May 1, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had informed the court that central probe agencies were under a lot of difficulties due to the said judgement.
On April 26, the court had said the investigating agency cannot file incomplete charge sheet to scuttle chances of default bail for the accused, which is not merely a statutory but a fundamental right.
The court had then ordered that the judgement shall stand deferred.
Considering an application by the Enforcement Directorate, the three judge bench on Friday, "We clarify that the interim order of this court on May 1, 2023 shall not preclude any trial court/High Court from considering any bail application for grant of default bail under Section 167 (2) CrPC independent of and without relying on the judgment of April 26, 2023 in Ritu Chhabaria case".
Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, appearing for a private party, submitted the order not to reply upon the April 26 judgement would affect the right of the accused.
"We can order, is that during pendency, the interim order dated May 1 shall not stop any court from considering an application for the grant of default bail under section 167(2) of CrPC, independent of and without relying on the Ritu Chhabaria judgement," the bench said.
The Solicitor General also informed the court a review petition against the judgement would also be filed.
In its judgement on a writ petition filed by Ritu Chhabaria, the court had pointed out statutory time frame has been prescribed of 90 days and 60 days for filing of the charge sheets depending upon the nature of offences.
"The question of resorting to a supplementary charge sheet u/s 173(8) of the CrPC only arises after the main charge sheet has been filed, and as such, a supplementary charge sheet, wherein it is explicitly stated that the investigation is still pending, cannot under any circumstance, be used to scuttle the right of default bail, for then, the entire purpose of default bail is defeated," the bench had said.