Can't deny accused bail even if charge sheet delayed by a day: SC

Can't deny accused bail even if charge sheet delayed by a day: SC

Even a single day delay in filing a charge sheet beyond a mandatory period would entitle an accused to get statutory bail, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday.

“We find that this question is no more res integra (a question not examined by the court). It is settled that an accused is entitled to bail if after a period of 60 days or 90 days – as the case may be — has expired and if no charge sheet has been filed,” a bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao said.

The court granted bail to former Noida authority chief engineer Yadav Singh, facing charges in multi-hundred crore scam under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Senior advocate Raju Ramachandra, representing Singh, submitted that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed the charge sheet in the matter on May 2, a day after the petitioner filed a statutory bail application before the trial court.

He said the period of 60 days for filing the charge sheet since his arrest had already expired on April 29. Senior advocate A K Panda, appearing for the ED, submitted that the filing of charge sheet was almost simultaneous with the end of the statutory period of 60 days. The prosecution should still be given an opportunity to oppose the bail, he said.

However, the court disagreed with his contention, relying upon the majority view of the apex court’s ruling on August 17, this year in the ‘Rakesh Kumar Paul Versus State of Assam’ stating that the accused would be entitled to ‘default bail’ if charge sheet is not filed within the statutory period and this indefeasible right cannot be defeated by filing the charge sheet after the accused has offered to furnish bail.

Notably, the petitioner in the instant case was unlikely to be released as he was required to remain in judicial custody in other cases.
DH News Service

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