-Report by Shagun Sharma
The Delhi High Court had observed in the case of SULEMAN v. THE STATE (NCT OF DELHI) that the object of default bail is inherently linked to Article 21 of the Constitution of India, laying emphasis on safeguarding the life and personal liberty of the accused against arbitrary detention. A revision Petition had been filed, to set aside the order passed by the Learned Trial Court, Delhi, wherein Default Bail of the Petitioner, under Section 167(2) Cr.P.C. was dismissed. The Coram consisted of the HON’BLE MS. JUSTICE SWARANA KANTA SHARMA.
The Petitioner was in custody in the FIR registered under sec. 21 and 29 of the NDPS Act. On completion of the investigation, a charge sheet was filed on March 3, 2021, without the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report. The charge sheet mentioned that the supplementary charge sheet would be filed on the receipt of the report from the forensic laboratory. The Petitioner was then arrested on March 4 last year, wherein he was found in possession of 300 gms of heroin and 06 gms of the heroin were recovered from the co-accused.
The Petitioner filed an application for bail in default under Section 167(2) of the Cr.P.C. before the learned Trial Court,
claiming that the complete charge sheet was not filed within the stipulated time frame under Section 36A (4) of the NDPS Act. The learned Trial Court observed that the accused would not be entitled to Default Bail as the charge sheet has been filed even though the FSL Report is not filed. In furtherance, it was observed by the learned Trial Court that the quantity recovered from the Petition would fall under the bar of commercial quantity. Thus, the onus would be upon the Petitioner to satisfy the learned Trial Court.
It was stated by the learned Counsel for the petitioner that the charge sheet is incomplete without FSL Report since the IO does not know whether the substance recovered is actually a banned substance under Sections 21 and 29 of the NDPS Act.
Ld. Counsel for the APP stated that the question of whether the charge sheet is incomplete without an FSL Report or
not, is yet to be decided by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and therefore the reliance should be placed on the law presently laid down by the Division Bench of this Court in Kishan Lal vs State 1989.
The High Court was of the view that the default bail under sec. 167 of CrPC can only be availed before the filing of the charge sheet and the period for the calculation of the number of days of detention would commence from the date of remand of the accused and not from the date of arrest.
The Court also said that at present, the settled law persists in the view that non-filing of the FSL Report with the charge sheet does not fall within the realms of Section 173(2) of the Cr. P.C so as to consider it as an “incomplete report”. In the present case although FSL Report has not been filed, however, the charge sheet was already filed on 3rd March 2021. Further, the quantity recovered from the accused is of commercial nature barring the accused from bail under Section 37 of the NDPS Act. Therefore, finding no infirmity in the impugned order, the court dismissed the plea.