New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has said that an accused has the right to be released on default bail when the prosecution files a preliminary or incomplete chargesheet within the statutory period.
Justice Amit Sharma said that this right is grounded in Article 21 of the Constitution, which guarantees the fundamental right to personal life and liberty.
In the case in question, the accused faced charges related to murder and violations of the Arms Act. Although the chargesheet was filed within the prescribed period, the accused argued that it was incomplete due to the absence of certain documents.
The sessions court had rejected the accused’s application for default bail, stating that the right to statutory bail had been defeated because a complete chargesheet had already been filed.
The trial court had said that the remaining investigation depended on external factors, such as reports from external agencies.
However, the High Court disagreed, asserting that the investigation related to the accused was complete when the first chargesheet was filed. The court also noted that even after the filing of the chargesheet, further investigation can continue under Section 173(8) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The court clarified that its ruling only pertained to the issue of default bail and did not offer an opinion on the merits of the case. It granted the accused the liberty to approach the trial court for bail on merit.