MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court recently said filing of charge sheet by the police, a day after the expiry of the limitation period, would not strip away an accused’s right to default bail, even if the said charge sheet was filed before the bail application was made.Justice K Murali Shankar was allowing a petition filed by one K Muthuirul challenging the dismissal of his statutory bail petition by a lower court in Madurai in a ganja case in October.
The judge said, “There is a misconception that when a charge sheet and the petition seeking default bail in a case are filed on the same day, then the time at which they are filed is the deciding factor.” If the charge sheet is filed before the bail petition, then the accused is denied statutory bail and in cases where the bail petition is filed before laying of charge sheet, then it is believed the bail application has to be allowed, the judge noted, adding this practice was not correct.
He pointed out that the police are duty-bound to file the charge sheet within the limitation period (60, 90 or 180 days depending on the cases) and the accused would be able to apply for default bail only after the expiry of the above period. “If the charge sheet is filed on 61st or 91st or 181st day, even prior to the filing of the bail petition on the same day, it does not defeat the right accrued to the accused,” he said.
The Additional Public Prosecutor explained that the delay of one day was because the limitation period expired on a court holiday. But the judge said: “Since the petitioner availed of his right to bail on October 18 and offered to abide by the terms and conditions to be imposed, the subsequent or even simultaneous filing of the charge sheet does not disentitle the petitioner from claiming the default bail.”