Bail is the temporary release of a defendant in a criminal matter where a trial is ongoing, and the court has not yet made a decision. It is the defendant’s conditional release under the promise to be present in court whenever required. There are four types of bail, i.e. regular, interim, anticipatory, and statutory bail. Learn More: Bail Explained Under CrPC
In this law article, you will read about statutory bail under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and the conditions to get it in India.
Meaning of Statutory Bail
Statutory bail is a right to bail that arises when the police fail to finish their investigation into a person in judicial custody within a certain time period.
Statutory bail is granted when a police department or other investigating agency fails to submit a report or complaint within the stipulated time period. Days spent in both judicial and police detention are included in a given period. (The given period here means the time period prescribed to investigating agencies for submitting a report or complaint. Days spent (by the person requesting for the statutory bail) in judicial as well as police detention are both included in the prescribed period.)
Statutory bail is also known as default bail and compulsive bail.
Important: Once a charge sheet is filed, statutory bail cannot be claimed.
Essential Conditions for Statutory Bail
Although the accused is eligible to be released on bail as per section 167 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the following two requirements must be followed:
1. Appeal From the Accused
The accused must submit a petition to the court requesting his release on bail in order to receive statutory bail. Without an application from the accused, the court cannot use its authority and issue a statutory bail merely because the time period has elapsed. In other words, the right to statutory bail becomes effective once the 60 or 90-day period, as the case may be, has ended and the charge sheet has not been filed. However, an application must be made before a court to use the right.
2. Pending Investigation
The charge sheet was not filed within the required timeframe. Statutory bail is only awarded while the investigation is ongoing. Therefore, the application for default bail must be submitted before the charge sheet is submitted. And, if the accused fails to do so and meanwhile charge sheet is filed, his right to statutory bail expires.
Further, if the default bail has already been approved, the subsequent filing of the charge sheet will not ipso facto result in the cancellation of the default bail.
Statutory Bail Under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985
The time period specified for the completion of the investigation for offences that come under the purview of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act) is provided under section 36A(4) of the NDPS Act.
If the offence involves the recovery of a significant amount of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances or the offence is such that it is punishable under sections 19, 24, or 27A of the NDPS Act, the investigating agency has 180 days to finish the investigation and submit its report.
Thus, a person accused of offences under the NDPS Act can avail of statutory bail if investigating agencies do not furnish the report within 180 days. However, the court can extend the initial period of 180 days up to 1 year if the public prosecutor presents a report outlining the progress of the investigation and specific justifications for keeping the accused in custody even after that time.
Statutory Bail Under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967
The time period specified for the completion of investigation for offences that come under the purview of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) is 90 days. Thus, a person accused of offences under the NDPS Act can avail of statutory bail if investigating agencies do not furnish the report within 90 days.
However, the court can extend the initial period of 90 days to an additional 90 days if the public prosecutor presents a report outlining the progress of the investigation and specific justifications for keeping the accused in custody even after that time.
What Have We Learned?
Statutory bail is also known as default or compulsive bail. It is granted when a police department or other investigating agency fails to submit a report or complaint within the specified time period. But, to avail of the right of statutory bail, an application must be made by the accused before a court. Section 167(2) of the CrPC provides that the accused is eligible for statutory bail if the charge is not filed within 60 or 90 days, as the case may be by the investigating agency.
Further, in case of offences under the NDPS Act, the investigating agency has 180 days to finish the investigation and submit its report. And, in case of offences that come under UAPA, the specified time period to complete the investigation is 90 days.
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