STATUTORY/DEFAULT BAIL (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     31st May 2024        
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Context: Recently, the Delhi High Court granted statutory bail to a JNU scholar and student activist implicated in a 2020 communal riots case, which included allegations of sedition.

Statutory/Default Bail

  • Bail: It is the temporary release of a person who has been arrested or charged with a crime, pending their trial or court appearance.
  • Statutory/Default Bail: Also known as compulsive bail, is provided under Section 167(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code to accused against detention during inordinate delay in completion of investigation.
  • Conditions for the default bail: Under Section 167(2) of the Code, a Magistrate can order an accused person to be detained in the custody of the police for 15 days. Beyond the police custody period of 15 days, the Magistrate can authorise the detention of the accused person in judicial custody i.e., jail if necessary. However, the accused cannot be detained for more than:

o 90 days, when an authority is investigating an offence punishable with death, life imprisonment or imprisonment for at least ten years; or

o 60 days, when the authority is investigating any other offence.

ü In this case, bail is granted because of the default of the investigating agency in not completing the investigation within the specified time, and it is referred to as ‘default bail’ or ‘compulsive bail’.

o After the period of 90/60 days, if the investigation has not been completed and charge-sheet not filed, the accused person has the right to be released on bail as long as he/she applies for bail and agrees to fulfil other bail conditions (such as providing the required bail amount).

Other Protections in Criminal Procedure

  • Mandatory Bail: Courts are obligated to grant bail under Section 436 CrPC for bailable offences if the accused is willing to furnish a bail bond.
  • Discretionary Bail: Bail in non-bailable offences is subject to the discretion of the court.