03 July 2020

Accused is not entitled for default bail u/s.167(2) of Cr.P.C. if chargesheet has already been filed before his surrender in the court

Offence u/s. 420, 406, 409, 465, 467, 468, 471, 120-B of IPC and 7 & 13(1) A of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 - Chargesheet against one accused filed on 23.01.2019 - applicant-accused shown as absconded - on 23.11.2019 applicant-accused surrendered before the court - application for default bail u/s.167(2) of Cr.P.C. filed om 24.02.2020

Held: It is not essential for a person to be arrested before chargesheet can be presented against him. The only requirement for applicability of the proviso to Section 167(2) Cr.P.C. is that investigation should be pending against the petitioner-accused and no investigation can be said to be pending if chargesheet is filed before his arrest or surrender before the court.


   A perusal of the challan presented on 23.01.2019, a copy whereof is annexed as Annexure P-2, shows that list of the case property had been filed therewith along with a list of witnesses. Thereafter, the facts of the case have been narrated. The last few lines are reproduced:-
"The warrants have been got issued from the Learned Illaqa Magistrate against Sandeep Kumar son of Jagdish Chander r/o Panj Ke Utar Police Station Guruharsahai, Rishu Matneja w/o Sandeep Kumar r/o Panj Ke Utar Police Station Guruharsahai, Jaswinder Pal Singh son of Gurmeet Singh r/o Dashmesh Nagar Jalalabad, Jasmeet Singh son of Amarjeet Singh r/o Jalalabad. Hansa Singh, Inspector Grade 2, resident of Shamshabad, District Fazilka, Harpreet Singh son of Gurmeet Singh resident of Dashmesh Nagar, Jalalabad and after arresting them supplementary challan would be presented in the court and after getting evidence of involvement of staff of Punjab National Bank, a separate supplementary challan would be submitted against them. The pending enquiry of the case after taking the record and thereafter supplementary challan shall be presented. As per the evidence, the investigation till and the evidence collected on file challan under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 406, 120-B IPC against accused Sandeep Kumar is required to be presented and the same after being prepared against Sandeep Kumar under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 406, 120-B IPC is being presented to the Court. The witnesses mentioned
in Column no.6 shall give their statements as required."[Para No.11]
Accused is not entitled for default bail u/s.167 of Cr.P.C. if chargesheet has already been filed before his surrender in the court
From the aforementioned reproduction from the challan it is evident that evidence necessary for commencement of trial against the petitioner and his co-accused has/had been collected by the investigating agency. The petitioner was kept in column No.2 only because he had not been arrested as is the practice in the State of Punjab. Learned counsel for the petitioner has not refuted the submission of the learned State counsel that such a practice exists in the State of Punjab. Warrants of arrest had been requested for and this would not have been the case if the petitioner had not been found guilty. The challan dated 24.02.2020 against the petitioner was only a formality. In Dinesh Dalmia (supra) it has been held as follows:-
"15. A charge sheet is a final report within the meaning of Sub- section (2) of Section 173 of the Code. It is filed so as to enable the court concerned to apply its mind as to whether cognizance of the offence thereupon should be taken or not. The report is ordinarily filed in the form prescribed therefore. One of the requirements for submission of a police report is whether any offence appears to have been committed and, if so, by whom. In some cases, the accused having not been arrested, the investigation against him may not be complete. There may not be sufficient material for arriving at a decision that the absconding accused is also a person by whom the offence appears to have been committed. If the investigating officer finds sufficient evidence even against such an accused who had been absconding, in our opinion, law does not require that filing of the charge sheet must await the arrest of the accused."[Para No.12]

   From the aforementioned observation, it is evident that in law it is not essential for a person to be arrested before a challan can be presented against him. The only requirement for applicability of the proviso to Section 167(2) Cr.P.C. is that investigation should be pending against the petitioner. The language of the challan presented on 23.01.2019 gives the impression that investigation against the petitioner is not pending. Learned counsel for the petitioner has not been able to dispel this impression either with his argument or with the help of any other evidence. Thus, the ratio of Dinesh Dalmia (supra) is applicable to this case irrespective of the fact that in the said case the petitioner therein had been specifically named in the challan prior to his arrest. The position in law remains un-altered despite the said distinction on facts.[Para No.13]

Punjab-Haryana High Court

Hansa Singh
Vs.
State Of Punjab

Decided on 02/07/2020






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