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Default Bail


The National Investigation Agency(NIA) has approached the Supreme Court against a Bombay High Court order granting statutory bail to advocate and activist Sudha Bharadwaj.

About Default Bail

  • Also known as statutory bail, this is a right to bail that accrues when the police fail to complete investigation within a specified period in respect of a person in judicial custody.
  • This is enshrined in Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure(CrPC) where it is not possible for the police to complete an investigation in 24 hours, the police produce the suspect in court and seek orders for either police or judicial custody.
  • This section concerns the total period up to which a person may be remanded in custody prior to filing of charge sheet.
  • For most offenses, the police have 60 days to complete the investigation and file a final report before the court.
  • However, where the offense attracts death sentence or life imprisonment, or a jail term of not less than 10 years, the period available is 90 days.
  • At the end of this period, if the investigation is not complete, the court shall release the person “if he is prepared to and does furnish bail”.

Principles Related To Default Bail

  • Right to seek 'default' bail is a fundamental right and an indefeasible part of right to personal liberty under the Constitution.
  • The stipulated period within which the charge sheet has to be filed begins from the day the accused is remanded for the first time.
  • It includes days undergone in both police and judicial custody, but not days spent in house-arrest.
  • A requirement for the grant of statutory bail is that the right should be claimed by the person in custody.
  • If the charge sheet is not filed within the stipulated period, but there is no application for bail under Section 167(2), there is no automatic bail.

Other Types of Bail

  • Regular Bail: It is a direction given by the Court (any Court within the country) to release a person who is already under arrest and kept in police custody. For such Bail, a person can file an application under Section 437 and 439 of the CrPC.
  • Anticipatory Bail: A direction issued to release a person on Bail even before the person is arrested. In this situation, there is apprehension of arrest and the person is not arrested before the Bail is granted.
  • Interim Bail: Bail granted for a temporary and short period by the Court till the application seeking Anticipatory Bail or Regular Bail is pending before a Court.