Bikramjit Singh v. State Of Punjab, Criminal Appeal No. 667 of 2020

Court:  Supreme Court of India

Issue:                Whether Special Court alone had the exclusive jurisdiction to extend the time for filing the charge sheet from period of 90 days to 180 days for under Section 43-D (2)(b) of the UAPA?

Whether subsequent filing of Chargesheet extinguishes indefeasible right of Accused who applied for ‘Default Bail’?

  • Held: The Magistrate Court does not have power to extend the time for filing of chargesheet in the offences under UAPA and the same can only be done by the Special Court or if there is no designated special court, then by Court of Sessions. The Hon’ble Court held that all scheduled offences i.e. all offences under the UAPA, whether investigated by the National Investigation Agency or by the investigating agencies of the State Government, are to be tried exclusively by Special Courts set up under that Act. The Magistrate’s jurisdiction to extend time under the first proviso in Section 43-D(2)(b) is non-existent, “the Court” being either a Sessions Court, in the absence of a notification specifying a Special Court, or the Special Court itself.
  • A conspectus of the aforesaid decisions would show that so long as an application for grant of default bail is made on expiry of the period of 90 days (which application need not even be in writing) before a charge sheet is filed, the right to default bail becomes complete. It is of no moment that the Criminal Court in question either does not dispose of such application before the charge sheet is filed or disposes of such application wrongly before such charge sheet is filed. So long as an application has been made for default bail on expiry of the stated period before time is further extended to the maximum period   of   180   days,   default   bail,   being   an indefeasible right of the accused under the first proviso to Section 167(2), kicks in and must be granted.

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