Guidelines on grant of bail to accused not arrested during investigation post filing of Chargesheet

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In Satender Kumar Antil v. Central Bureau of Investigation and Anr. [Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.)  No(s).  5191/2021 dated October 07, 2021], the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the current application has issued guidelines relating to the aspect of grant of bail to accused who, on a charge sheet being filed is not arrested during investigation.

Relying on the suggestions put forth by Ld. Additional Solicitor General Mr. S.V. Raju and Ld. Senior Advocate Mr. Sidharth Luthra, the Hon’ble Supreme Court, keeping in mind the statutory provisions, categorised offenses in 4 categories i.e., Categories A, B, C and D and provided guidelines and requisite conditions sought to be laid down for grant of bail.

Category (A) offenses are those punishable with imprisonment of 7 years of less dealing with police cases and complaint cases. Guidelines listed for this category included Bailable Warrant for physical appearance to be issued to accused in case he does not appear post service of summons. Accordingly, a Non Bailable Warrant would be issued in case of failure to appear despite issuance of Bailable Warrant. Bail applications of such accused on appearance may be decided without the Accused being taken in physical custody or by granting interim bail till the bail application is decided.

Category (B) are offenses punishable with death, imprisonment for life, or imprisonment for more than 7 years and Category (D) are Economic offences not covered by Special Acts, the guidelines of which provide that for these offenses, on appearance of the accused in Court pursuant to process issued bail application is to be decided on merits.

Category (C) are offenses punishable under Special Acts like Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (“NDPS Act”), Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (“PMLA Act”), Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (“UAPA Act”) and Companies Act, 2013 the guidelines of which are similar to those in Category (B) and (D) offenses with an additional condition which provides that compliance of the provisions of Bail under Section 37 of NDPS Act, Section 45 of PMLA Act, Section 212(6) of Companies Act and Section 43d(5) of the UAPA Act, etc are to be met.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court further observed that these guidelines would be kept in consideration by Trials Courts as well as High Courts while considering bail applications. The caveat so issued is for cases where the accused has not cooperated in the investigation, or investigating officers, or has not answered to summons on the order of the Courts.

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