The Supreme Court on Monday said that it will form a three-judge bench to examine the validity of its judgement stating that an accused will be entitled to default bail if the investigating agency files an incomplete chargesheet, Bar and Bench reported.
A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala asked courts to defer pleas filed on the basis of the judgement to any date after May 4.
On April 25, a bench of Justices Krishna Murari and CT Ravikumar had ruled that default bail under the Criminal Procedure Code is an important right and cannot be scuttled by investigative agencies by filing supplementary chargesheets in cases where an inquiry is yet to be completed.
Under Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, an accused person can only be detained up to a particular time. After this period, the individual has to be given bail if the police do not file a chargesheet. Bail under this section is referred to as default bail or compulsory bail.
The Supreme Court’s earlier verdict was passed on a plea filed by a woman named Ritu Chhabaria, whose husband Sanjay Chhabaria was booked in a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act in which he was not initially named, reported the Hindustan Times.
He was arrested in April last year by the Central Bureau of Investigation and named as a suspect in a supplementary chargesheet. However, no final chargesheet was filed by the central agency.
“Without completing the investigation of a case, a chargesheet or prosecution complaint cannot be filed by an investigating agency only to deprive an arrested accused of his right to default bail under Section 167(2) of the CrPC,” the bench had said.
On Monday, Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta told the chief justice that based on the judgement, more than 15 applications seeking default bail have been filed by accused persons in various High Courts.
He contended that the ruling would create chaos for the investigative agencies, particularly the Enforcement Directorate as it often has to investigate complex money trails that can take a long time and requires the filing of multiple chargesheets as individuals’ involvement in a crime is discovered, reported The Times of India.
Mehta also told the bench that the April 25 judgement of the bench was “in complete contrast” to three other previous rulings of the Supreme Court. In one of them, the court had ruled that the right to default bail gets extinguished with the filing of a chargesheet, he said.