The Indian Supreme Court Monday ruled that bail granted under Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure can be revoked even if the investigating agency failed to complete the investigation and file a chargesheet within the given timeframe if the accused has committed a non-bailable offense and a strong case is made out against him. The court noted that an accused granted default bail cannot claim special rights to remain on bail.
The court allowed an appeal by the CBI against the Andhra Pradesh High Court’s judgment in which the plea to cancel the default bail granted to T Gangi Reddy who is accused of murdering Y S Vivekananda Reddy, former minister, and uncle of present Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy. The court ruled that it was appropriate to remand the case to the Telangana High Court to consider the merits of whether bail should be revoked in this case.
The court however also stated that the mere filing of a chargesheet is not sufficient to cancel bail, and this action should only be taken when there exist “special reasons besides the fact of commission of a non-bailable crime.” The bench noted that the liberty of a suspect released on bail cannot be the subject of intrusion merely on the ground that the prosecution has submitted a chargesheet as it would introduce a “sense of complacency” in the investigating agency.
The court observed that the bail should be canceled only when the accused deserved to be in custody and not on merits or general grounds like not cooperating with the investigating agency, tampering with the evidence or witnesses, or not cooperating with the concerned court.
The cancellation of default bail could be ordered considering the grounds set out in Section 437(5) and Section 439(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure if the defects for which default bail was granted were cured, or special and strong reasons are made out from the subsequently filed chargesheet that the accused has committed a non-bailable offense.