Read Order: Joginder Singh v. State of Haryana

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, February 15, 2022: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has recently held that the indefeasible right of default bail u/s 167(2) of Cr.P.C. accruing to an accused on the failure of investigating agencies in filing a charge-sheet in a time-bound manner, cannot be taken away casually and for such denial the Public Prosecutor being an independent statutory authority has to file a report after independent application of mind, stating therein his/her satisfaction on the progress made in the investigation and the further need of time for the same. 

The Bench of Justice Sant Parkash further added,  “The report of the Public Prosecutor, therefore, is not merely a formality but a very vital report because the consequence of its acceptance affects the liberty of an accused and it must, therefore, strictly comply with the requirements of Section 36A(4) of the NDPS Act. The contents of the report to be submitted by the Public Prosecutor, after proper application of his mind, are designed to assist the court to independently decide whether or not extension should be granted in a given case.”

This matter emanated from a revision petition preferred by the petitioner challenging the Order of the Trial Court whereby his application for grant of default bail under Section 167 (2) Cr.P.C. read with Section 36(A)(4) had been dismissed in response to an application moved by the prosecution for extension of time for filing a charge-sheet. 

The Petitioner was arrested and an FIR was registered against him under Section 22C of Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances, 1985 (NDPS Act) for being in conscious possession of contraband. 

The petitioner’s counsel argued that the final report could not be filed within the statutory period of 180 days as the FSL report was not received. Allowing time for filing final report up to one year to prosecution was in direct violation of mandate of Section 36(A)(4) of the NDPS Act, submitted the Counsel. 

The Court at the outset made its observations on Section 36A of NDPS Act. It stated that there are three conditions, to be satisfied for the court, before granting an extension of time to the prosecution for filing a final report and that merely filing of an application in this regard does not ipso facto empower the court to extend the stipulated period for filing charge-sheet.

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