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  • Writer's pictureVidhya Shet

How to calculate 60/90 days in default bail?

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in its recent decision by 3 member bench in Criminal Appeal Nos. 701-702 of 2020 (Enforcement Directorate, Government of India V/s. Kapil Wadhwan & Anr., Etc.,) held that the 60/90 days period has to be computed from the date of remand of accused.

The subject appeal was filed against order dated 20.08.2020 of Hon’ble Bombay High Court granting default bail to the respondents under proviso (a)(ii) of Section 167(2) of the Crpc.

Facts of the case (Dates are of relevance)

The respondents were arrested on 14.05.2020 for alleged commission of offence under Section 3 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) and were remanded on the same date. The charge sheet was filed on 13.07.2020.

It was respondents case that the period of 60 days from the date of remand i.e. 14.5.2020, expired on 12.7.2020 (Sunday) and on the next day, the default bail applications were presented before the Court. The learned Special Judge, however, denied default bail to the respondents taking the view that the 60 day period would start from 15.5.2020, thereby excluding the date of remand (i.e. 14.5.2020). However, the Hon’ble Bombay High Court, under the impugned judgment felt that, excluding the date of remand while computing the 60- day period was erroneous and held that the filing of the Chargesheet by the ED on 13.7.2020, being the 61st day, would entitle the respondents to default bail.

Thus the main issue that arose for consideration before Hon’ble Apex Court was whether the date of remand is to be included or excluded, for considering a claim for default bail, when computing the 60/90 day period as contemplated in proviso (a) of Section 167 (2) of the CrPC.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court considered that there was divergence of opinion on how the stipulated period, for the right of default bail, accruing to the accused, is to be computed. It noted that some judgments have favoured the exclusion of date of remand, while a contrary view was taken in other cases.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court thus held that as there existed vacuum in the application and details of Section 167 CrPC, they have opted for an interpretation which advanced the cause of personal liberty. The bench was pleased to observe in following words:

“We therefore declare that the stipulated 60/90 day remand period under Section 167 CrPC ought to be computed from the date when a Magistrate authorizes remand. If the first day of remand is excluded, the remand period, as we notice will extend beyond the permitted 60/90 days’ period resulting in unauthorized detention beyond the period envisaged under Section 167 CrPC. In cases where the chargesheet/final report is filed on or after the 61st/91st day, the accused in our considered opinion would be entitled to default bail” .

It has thus held that the impugned order of the High Court granting default bail to the respondents by applying the proviso (a) (ii) of Section 167(2) CrPC was found to be in order.

In other words, the very moment the stipulated 60/90 day remand period expires, an indefeasible right to default bail accrues to the accused.

Conclusion- This decision is significant as it not only settles the issue of computation of 60/90 days period in granting default bail but it also goes one step ahead by observing that it was rightly held in Ravindran(supra) and Bikramjit (supra), which followed the Constitution Bench in Sanjay Dutt(supra) that “if the accused persons avail their indefeasible right to default bail before the chargesheet / final report is filed, then such right would not stand frustrated or extinguished by any such subsequent filing”.

Exercise to solve: If A is arrested on 1.05.2002 under Sections 307 of Indian Penal Code and remanded on same date. Then when can he apply for default bail?


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