Gauhati High Court seeks precision from lower courts
In the exercise of its powers under Article 227 of the Constitution
GUWAHATI: In the exercise of its powers under Article 227 of the Constitution, the Gauhati High Court has directed all subordinate courts to ensure that whenever an investigating agency submits the charge sheet to the office of the magistrate/court competent to take cognizance of the offence, the office/court concerned will place the charge sheet along with the relevant forms before the magistrate/judge on the very same day and thereupon, the magistrate/judge will have to put the endorsement with his/her initials and date along with the seal of the magistrate/court.
This directive formed part of a CAV judgment and order passed by the High Court in connection with a bail application filed by a Karimganj-based man named Samsun Noor alias Samsul Noor, who was arrested after being found in possession of a sizeable quantity of methamphetamine tablets on November 28 last year.
The bail petition was filed in the High Court after the lower court denied the accused person 'default bail'. It may be mentioned that 'default bail' is granted under Section 167 (2) of the CrPC if the investigating agency fails to file the relevant charge sheet up to 180 days after the accused person is taken into custody.
The High Court noted that the rejection of the 'default bail' petition by the lower court was the direct result of a discrepancy regarding the exact date of submission of the charge sheet by the police and its official receipt on the lower court's records.
While directing the lower court to release the accused person on bail, the High Court observed: "This valuable right under Section 167(2) of the Code cannot be made nugatory at the hands of the Office of the Magistrate/Court. It is also relevant herein to take note of allowing the Office of the Magistrate/the Court to receive on behalf of the Magistrate/Court may lead to manipulations which would affect the rights of the prosecution as well as the accused as the case may be. It is, therefore, the Magistrate/the Court competent to take cognizance of the offence who is required under law to put the initial with the date and the seal of the Court on the register maintained in terms with the Assam Police Manual so that there is no scope of any manipulation…
"In view of the above, this Court is of the opinion that submission of the charge sheet before the Office of the Magistrate/the Court would not be sufficient compliance in terms with Section 173(2) of the Code read with Rule 38 and 69 of the Assam Police Manual Part-IV and it is only when the Magistrate/Court competent to take cognizance of the offence, puts the initials in the charge sheet as well as in the Register maintained with date and seal of the Magistrate/Court, it would be that date on which the charge sheet has been deemed to have been submitted to the Magistrate/Court."
Therefore, the High Court directed that all magistrate/judges concerned should put the endorsement with his/her initials and date along with the seal of the magistrate/court while receiving charge sheets and relevant forms.