Time extension for filing charges is not a formality and denies the accused the ability to default bail, according to the Supreme Court

Supreme Court reversed Gujarat High Court decision to extend time to conclude investigation . Ruling reversed a Gujarat High Court decision that the time to conclude an investigation from 90 to 180 days behind the scenes of the accused in a criminal lawsuit .

NEW DELHI (New Delhi) — The Supreme Court declared on Friday that the extension of time given to prosecute agencies to issue charge sheets in criminal cases is not a mere formality because it deprives accused of their indefeasible right to seek default bail due to the investigation's non-finishing.The Supreme Court reversed a Gujarat High Court decision, in a decisive ruling, that the time to conclude an investigation from 90 to 180 days behind the scenes of the accused in a criminal lawsuit and ordered the release of the undertrials on default bail.If the investigation team fails to complete the probe and file a charge sheet within a stipulated time frame of 60 or 90 days in a court of competent jurisdiction, section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Code provides for the grant of default bail to an accused.Prosecutors are obligated to ask for a 180-day extension of the charge sheet, such as the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Act, 2015, to refuse bail to the accused in heinous offence cases.

According to a bench composed of Ajay Rastogi and Abhay S Oka, the prosecution's refusal to bring the accused before the Tribunal and inform him that the request for extension is being considered by the Court is a mere procedural irregularity.According to the verdict, the extension of time removes the right of the accused to obtain default bail, which is intrinsically linked to the constitutional rights guaranteed by Article 21, while remaining true to the extent that a person's freedom can be taken away by following a fair and reasonable procedure.The failure to obtain the presence of the accused either physically or practically before the Court, as well as failing to inform him that the Public Prosecutor's appeal for a extension of time is being considered, is not a mere procedural anomaly.Justice Rastogi, who wrote the sentence, said it is a gross injustice that infringes on the rights of the accused under Article 21.

It said that leaving aside the decisions of the high court and the trial court, the extension of time is not a mere formality.Before submitting a report or applying for a postponement, the Public Prosecutor must keep his mind open.One Jigar alias Jimmy Pravinchandra and other defendants were charged with criminal offences at Jamnagar City A Division Police Station in Gujarat under the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Act.The FIR was filed on October 15, 2020, and the defendants were arrested at various times.

The court upheld the order, dismissing the argument that it was passed behind the back of the imprisoned suspects.The special court's orders of extension of the trial period are unlawful because the respondents failed to present the accused before the special court either physically or informally when the Public Prosecutors' request for a longer time period was considered.