Delhi High Court rejects plea of NDPS Act accused seeking default bail where chargesheet was filed within 180 days without FSL report
Justice Jyoti Singh [27-03-2024]


Read Order: Baljeet Singh @ Aman v. State [DEL HC- CRL.REV.P. 312/2024]


LE Correspondent


New Delhi, April 2, 2024: The Delhi High Court has upheld an order dismissing the bail plea of an accused found with narcotic substances cocaine and MDMA. The High Court found no reason to release him on default bail merely because the FSL report was not filed when the chargesheet was filed.


As per the case of the prosecution, Baljeet (Petitioner herein) was apprehended by a raiding team along with the co-accused. A polyethene bag was recovered from the Petitioner having 3 small bags containing 51 gm cocaine, 35 gm MDMA, 10 green coloured tablets Ecstasy (MDMA) and 50 pink coloured tablets (MDMA) weighing 26.50 gm. Notice was served on both under Section 50 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 before conducting the personal search.


Beneth Chukuwuudi @ Michael was arrested on the disclosure statement of Petitioner and the co-accused and 3 polythene bags containing contrabands were recovered. FIR was registered and the Petitioner was arrested. After completion of investigation, Charge Sheet was filed on 25.08.2023, which was admittedly within 180 days albeit without the FSL report, which was received later.


The revision petition before the Delhi High Court was preferred on behalf of the Petitioner under Section 397 read with Section 401 Cr.P.C. assailing the impugned order passed by the Sessions Court whereby application filed by the Petitioner under Section 167(2) Cr.P.C. seeking default bail had been dismissed.


The petitioner contended that the Punjab and Haryana High Court has taken a view that the only way nature of a contraband can be established is through a chemical examiner’s report and therefore, this report assumes immense significance for the Trial Court to formulate an opinion, as the very cognizance of an offence would depend on it. Non-inclusion of the FSL opinion in a report under Section 173 Cr.P.C. would expose the accused to unfounded dangers imperiling his liberty and therefore, a Charge Sheet although filed within 180 days but without an FSL report is an incomplete Charge Sheet.


The State Counsel submitted that the Delhi High Court has in several judgments taken a view that a Charge Sheet filed under Section 173 Cr.P.C. without the FSL opinion is not an incomplete Charge Sheet and accordingly, no right of default bail can accrue to the accused on this ground alone.


The petitioner, in this case, sought default bail on the ground that Charge Sheet was not accompanied by the FSL report and on this score sought setting aside of the impugned order dated whereby the Sessions Court had dismissed the application filed by the Petitioner under Section 167(2) Cr.P.C.


“It has been repeatedly and consistently held by Courts that the right to personal life and liberty, enshrined and embedded in Article 21 of the Constitution of India has an interconnection with Section 167(2) Cr.P.C. When the investigation is not completed within the statutory timeframe, accused is entitled to default bail as also where Charge Sheet is filed within the prescribed period, but is incomplete”, the Single-Judge Bench of Justice Jyoti Singh said.


The Bench also took note of the fact that several Co-ordinate Benches of the Delhi High Court have consistently held that non-filing of FSL report along with the Charge Sheet does not fall within the ambit of Section 173(2) Cr.P.C. so as to consider it as ‘incomplete Charge Sheet’ and accordingly, no right of default bail accrues in favour of the accused.


Next, the Bench considered the contention of the petitioner that the Supreme Court has enlarged the accused on bail by interim orders, pending consideration of the larger issue and therefore, this Court cannot deny default bail to the Petitioner.


The High Court observed that in none of the orders relied upon by the counsel for the Petitioner, there was a general direction to release an accused on default bail merely on the ground that FSL report was not filed along with the Charge Sheet, in cases where the Charge Sheet is otherwise filed within the statutory timeframe.


It was noticed that in the present case, Charge Sheet is filed within a period of 180 days and this is a conceded position on behalf of the Petitioner. “Therefore, applying the aforesaid judgments, this Court finds no reason to release the Petitioner on default bail merely because the FSL report was not filed when the Charge Sheet was filed. As per the FIR, allegedly, there is recovery from the Petitioner of 03 polythene bags containing cocaine and MDMA and therefore, sufficient and cogent material was available for filing the Charge Sheet. Even going by the Scheme of Section 173 Cr.P.C., the FSL report which has now been received can always be filed along with the supplementary Charge Sheet”, the Bench held.


In view of such factual and legal aspects, the Bench dismissed the petition.

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