The Supreme Court vide order dated 15th October 2020, held that while granting default bail/statutory bail under Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, condition of deposit of amount cannot be imposed. The bench comprised of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah.

The only requirement for getting the default bail/ statutory bail under Section 167(2), CrPC is that the accused is in jail for more than 60 or 90 days, as the case may be, and within those days, the investigation isn’t completed and no charge sheet is filed by 60th or 90th day and the accused applies for default bail and is prepared to furnish bail, the Bench observed while it set aside the condition imposed by the Madurai Bench of Madras HC which while releasing an accused on default bail/statutory bail, imposed a condition to deposit Rs. 8,00,000/- (Rupees Eight Lakhs Only).

Further the Court said that the circumstances while considering the regular bail application under Section 437 CrPC are different from those while considering the application for the default bail/statutory bail.

The Hon’ble Court allowed the appeal by the accused against the imposition of the said condition. The Court referred to Section 167 CrPC and observed that, where the investigation isn’t completed within the stipulated time, the accused gets an “indefeasible right” to default bail, and the accused becomes entitled to default bail once the accused applies for default bail and furnish bail.

The Court also noted that the HC had imposed the said condition taking into consideration that earlier before the Magistrate and whilst considering the regular bail application under Section 437 CrPC, the wife of the accused filed an affidavit to deposit Rs.7,00,000/- (Rupees Seven Lakhs Only) henceforth, this cannot be the ground for imposing the condition to deposit the amount involved, while granting default bail/statutory bail.

The another condition imposed by the HC which was observed by the SC, was that, namely, directing the accused to report before the concerned police station daily at 10:00 am, until further orders, for interrogation was also unsustainable, as it is too harsh. Instead, condition directing the appellant to co-operate with the investigating officer and to remain present before the concerned police station for interrogation/investigation as and when called for, can be imposed. On the breach of such conditions the investigating officer can approach the concerned Court for cancellation of the bail.

The court allowed the appeal by setting aside the conditions imposed by the HC.

Order Link – Saravanan v. State

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