Jigar @ Jimmy Pravinchandra Adatiya vs State of Gujarat

Jigar  @  Jimmy Pravinchandra  Adatiya vs State of Gujarat  Case

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले



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Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1656   OF 2022
[Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 7696 of 2021]
Jigar  @  Jimmy Pravinchandra 
Adatiya  …  Appellant
v.
State of Gujarat                               …  Respondent
WITH 
Criminal Appeal No.1657   OF 2022
[Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 7609 of 2021]
WITH 
Criminal Appeal Nos.1658­1659  OF 2022
[Arising out of SLP (Crl.) Nos.7678­7679 of 2021]
AND 
Criminal Appeal No.  1660   OF 2022
[Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 7758 of 2021]
J U D G M E N T
Abhay S. Oka, J.
Leave granted.
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Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
FACTUAL ASPECTS
2. The   appellants   are   the   accused   in   FIR
No.112020082021862020 registered with Jamnagar City ‘A’
Division   Police   Station   in   Gujarat   for   the   offences   under
Sections 3(1), 3(2), 3(3), 3(4), 3(5), and 4 of The Gujarat
Control   of  Terrorism  and  Organised  Crime  Act, 2015  (for
short ‘the 2015 Act’). Section 167 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure,   1973   (for   short   ‘CrPC’)   has   been   amended   in
relation to the cases involving offences punishable under the
2015 Act.   By virtue of sub­section (2) of Section 20 of the
2015   Act,   a   proviso   has   been   added   in   addition   to   the
existing proviso to sub­section (2) of Section 167 of CrPC
which permits the Special Court established under the 2015
Act to extend the period of 90 days provided to complete the
investigation   up   to   180   days.   The   Special   Court   is
empowered to extend the period up to 180 days on a report of
the   Public   Prosecutor   setting   out   the   progress   of   the
investigation   and   the   specific   reasons   for   continuing
detention of the accused beyond the period of 90 days.
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Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
3. The aforesaid First Information Report was registered
on 15th October 2020.  The accused were arrested on different
dates.   Reports   were   submitted   by   the   Public   Prosecutor
seeking extension of time up to 180 days to complete the
investigation. In three cases, the reports were submitted on
8
th January 2021, and in one case, it was submitted on 21st
January 2021.  The prayer for extending the time up to 180
days was allowed by the Special Court on the very day on
which the applications were filed. Being aggrieved by the said
orders   of   the   Special   Court,   separate   applications   under
Section 482 of CrPC were preferred by the appellants.  By the
impugned common Judgment dated 15th  September 2021,
the learned Single Judge of Gujarat High Court rejected the
applications made by the appellants under Section 482 of
CrPC.  The details such as the respective dates of arrest and
the dates of making applications are as under:­
S.
 No.
Name   of   the
accused
Particulars Date   of
Arrest
Date   of
filing
application
under
Section
20(2)(b)   of
GUJCTOC
Date   of
filing
application
for   default
bail
1 Nileshbhai
Mansukhbhai
Tolia
Criminal
Misc.
Application
No.4901   of
16.10.2020 08.01.2021
Allowed   on
the   same
04.02.2021
4
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
2021   (SLP
(Crl.)
No.7758/
2021)
day
2 Vasantbhai   @
Vasantrai
Liladharbhai
Mansata
Criminal
Misc.
Application
No.4902   of
2021   (SLP
(Crl.)
No.7609/
2021)
01.11.2020 21.01.2021
Allowed   on
the   same
day
02.02.2021
3 Yashpalsinh
Mahendrasinh
Jadeja   and
Jashpalsinh
Mahendrasinh
Jadeja
Criminal
Misc.
Application
No.4904   of
2021
(SLP   (Crl.)
No.
7678­79/
2021)
28/
29.10.2020
08.01.2021
Allowed   on
the   same
day
03.02.2021
4 Jigar @ Jimmy
Pravinchandra
Adatiya
Criminal
Misc.
Application
No.4928   of
2021   (SLP
(Crl.)
No.7696/
2021)
16.10.2020 08.01.2021
Allowed   on
the   same
day
03.02.2021
4. The main ground urged in support of the appeals is
that when the Special Court passed orders on the reports
submitted by the learned Public Prosecutor by which time to
complete investigation  was  extended up  to  180 days, the
presence  of   none   of   the   accused   was   procured   either
physically or through video conference and that they were
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Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
not even informed about the reports submitted by the Public
Prosecutor.
SUBMISSIONS OF THE APPELLANTS
5. Ms. Nitya Ramakrishnan, the learned senior counsel
appearing for the appellants has made detailed submissions.
Reliance has been placed on the decisions of this Court in the
case of  Hitendra   Vishnu   Thakur   and   others  v.  State   of
Maharashtra and others1
 and Sanjay Dutt v. State through
CBI, Bombay (II)2
. Her submission is that when the Special
Court exercised the power under the proviso added by subsection (2) of Section 20 of the 2015 Act to sub­section (2) of
Section   167   of  CrPC,  the   presence  of   the  appellants   was
admittedly   not   procured   even   through   video   conference.
Admittedly,   before   the   reports   submitted   by   the   Public
Prosecutor seeking extension of time up to 180 days were
considered, the Special Court did not inform the appellants
about such reports being filed by the Public Prosecutor.  Her
submission   is   that   in   the   case   of  Sanjay   Dutt2
,   the
Constitution Bench of this Court has clearly laid down that
1 (1994) 4 SCC 602
2 (1994) 5 SCC 410
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the production of the accused before the Special Court on the
date on which such a report is considered is mandatory and
that by producing the accused before the Court, he must be
informed   about   such   a   report   submitted   by   the   Public
Prosecutor.  Thus, there is a violation of the mandate of law
laid down by the Constitution Bench of this Court.   She
pointed out that the appellants moved applications for grant
of default bail as they were not aware of the filing of the
reports by the Public Prosecutor and the orders of the Special
Court extending the period for investigation. In view of the
extension of time granted by the Special Court, the case of
the appellants for grant of default bail under sub­section (2)
of Section 167 of CrPC was not considered by the Special
Court.   On 9th  April 2021, a charge sheet was filed by the
police.  Her submission is that the order granting extension
to complete investigation is completely illegal as the same has
been passed without following the mandate laid down in the
case of  Sanjay   Dutt2
.   Her submission  is that  the order
granting extension passed by the Special Court deserves to
be set aside.   As the applications for default bail were made
by the appellants after the expiry of the statutory period of 90
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days but before filing the charge sheet, the appellants are
entitled to default bail.
6. The learned senior counsel submitted that the decision
of this Court in the case of  Hitendra  Vishnu  Thakur1
  was
modified by the Constitution Bench in the case of  Sanjay
Dutt2
  on   a   very   limited   aspect.     She   submitted   that   the
requirement of law laid down in the case of Hitendra Vishnu
Thakur1
 regarding procuring the presence of the accused at
the time of considering the report seeking extension of time
and requirement of putting the accused to the notice of the
filing of such a report has not been disturbed in the case of
Sanjay   Dutt2
.     On   the   contrary,   the   decision   of   the
Constitution Bench in the case of Sanjay Dutt2
 reiterates the
mandatory requirement of production of the accused before
the Court at the time of consideration of the report submitted
by the Public Prosecutor.  The only modification made by the
Constitution   Bench   in   the   decision   of  Hitendra   Vishnu
Thakur1
 is by holding that the mode of giving notice to the
accused is by informing him about the filing of such a report
by producing him before the Special Court and a written
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Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
notice is not required.  Her submission is that as this Court
in the case of Sanjay Dutt2
 has laid down the requirement of
informing the accused about the filing of a report seeking
extension   of   time  up   to   180   days,  it   is   obvious   that   the
accused on receiving the intimation is entitled to object to the
prayer made by the Public Prosecutor for grant of extension
of time.  However, it is not necessary for the Special Court to
supply   a   copy   of   the   report   submitted   by   the   Public
Prosecutor   to   the   accused.     Her   submission   is   that   the
proviso added by sub­section (2) of Section 20 of the 2015 Act
is pari materia with the proviso added by clause (bb) of subsection   (4)   of   Section   20   of   the   Terrorist   and   Disruptive
Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 (for short ‘TADA Act”) to subsection (2) of Section 167 of CrPC.  Therefore, the decisions of
this   Court   in   the   case   of  Hitendra   Vishnu   Thakur1
  and
Sanjay Dutt2
 will squarely apply to the facts of the case.  She
pointed out that the decision of this Court in the case of
Sanjay Dutt2
 was consistently followed in many decisions by
this Court.   In the case of  Ateef  Nasir  Mulla  v.  State  of
Maharashtra3
, this Court followed the law laid down by this
3 (2005) 7 SCC 29
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Court in both the aforesaid decisions while dealing with the
similar   provisions   under   clause   (b)   of   sub­section   (2)   of
Section 49 of Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (for short
‘POTA’).   She submitted that while dealing with a similar
provision in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances
Act, 1985 (for short ‘NDPS Act’), in the case of Sanjay Kumar
Kedia Alias Sanjay Kedia v. Intelligence Officer, Narcotics
Control   Bureau   and   Another4
,   this   Court   followed   the
decision   in   the   case   of  Hitendra   Vishnu   Thakur1
.     The
learned senior counsel also invited our attention to a decision
of this Court in the case of  S.  Kasi  v.  State  through  the
Inspector  of  Police  Samaynallur  Police  Station  Madurai
District5
.  She also invited our attention to another decision
in the case of  Bikramjit  Singh v.  State  of  Punjab6
.   She
urged that in both the aforesaid decisions, this Court held
that the right to get default bail under sub­section (2) of
Section 167 of CrPC is not merely a statutory right but a
fundamental   right   guaranteed   to   an   accused.     She   also
referred to another decision of this Court in the case of  M.
4 (2009)17 SCC 631
5 2020 SCC OnLine SC 529
6 (2020) 10 SCC 616
10
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
Ravindran v.  Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Revenue
Intelligence7
 which holds that sub­section (2) of Section 167
of CrPC is integrally linked to the constitutional commitment
under   Article   21   of   the   Constitution   of   India   promising
protection of life and personal liberty against unlawful and
arbitrary detention.   Therefore, the provision of sub­section
(2) of Section 167 should be interpreted in a manner that
serves this object.   She also relied upon a decision of the
Karnataka High Court in the case of  Muzammil  Pasha  &
Ors. Etc. v. National Investigating Agency etc.8
.  
7. Her submission is that in violation of the law laid down
by the Constitution Bench in the case of Sanjay Dutt2
, the
time   to   carry   out   the   investigation   was   extended   by   the
Special Court.  Therefore, the said order is completely illegal
as it infringes the right of the appellants to get default bail
which is held to be a fundamental right guaranteed by Article
21 of the Constitution of India.
SUBMISSIONS OF THE RESPONDENT
7 (2021) 2 SCC 485
8 2021 SCC OnLine Kar 12688
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8. Shri   Aman   Lekhi,   the   learned   Additional   Solicitor
General of India (ASG) submitted that the accused is not
entitled to a written notice of the reports submitted by the
Public Prosecutor for seeking extension of time. He submitted
that the report of the Public Prosecutor is considered by the
Special Court at a stage when the investigation is in progress.
His submission is that accused has no say in the matter of
grant of extension of time as he has no right of being heard at
the stage of the investigation. He relied upon a decision of
this   Court   in   the   case   of  Narender   G.   Goel v.   State   of
Maharashtra and Anr.9
.
9. Learned ASG further submitted that the inquiry at the
time of consideration of the report submitted by the Public
Prosecutor for extension of time is very limited.   He relied
upon   a   decision   of   this   Court   in   the   case   of  State   of
Maharashtra  v.  Surendra Pundlik Gadling and Ors.10.  He
submitted   that   if   a   report   is   submitted   by   the   Public
Prosecutor indicating the progress of the investigation and
the   specific   reasons   for   continuing   the   detention   of   the
9 (2009) 6 SCC 65
10 (2019) 5 SCC 178
12
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
accused beyond a period of 90 days, the Special Court is
empowered to grant the extension.  He submitted that in the
present case, the reports submitted by the Public Prosecutor
indicate that there was an application of mind by the Public
Prosecutor and all details as required were submitted.   He
urged that the decision of this Court in the case of  Sanjay
Kumar Kedia4
 is per incuriam as the binding precedent in the
case of Sanjay Dutt2
 was not considered by this Court.  
10. His submission is that the obligation to produce the
accused   before   the   Court   is   mandatory   only   when   his
detention in police custody is sought.   He submitted that
mere non­production of the accused on the day on which the
Special   Court   considered   the   request   for   the   grant   of
extension of time will not vitiate the order extending the time.
His submission is that in view of Section 460 of CrPC, the
order will not stand vitiated.  His submission is that in any
case, no prejudice has been caused to the appellants due to
their non­production and there has been no failure of justice.
Learned   ASG   submitted   that   physical   production   of   the
accused was not feasible due to Covid­19 conditions and that
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inadequate bandwidth prevented the virtual production of the
accused persons.  He submitted that the reasons given by the
High Court are cogent and correct. 
REJOINDER OF THE APPELLANTS
11. By   way   of   rejoinder,   the   learned   senior   counsel
appearing for the appellant submitted that without disturbing
the law laid down in the case of Hitendra Vishnu Thakur1
,
the Constitution Bench in the case of Sanjay Dutt2
 has held
that service of written notice to the accused is not necessary
and it would suffice if the accused was present in the Court
and was informed that the request for extension of time to
complete the investigation is being considered. She submitted
that there is no material placed on record to show that in
January   2021   when   the   reports   submitted   by   the   Public
Prosecutor were considered by the Special Court, either the
Standard   Operating   Procedure   prevailing   at   that   time
prohibited the physical production of the accused or there
was no proper connectivity which prevented the production
even virtually. Her submission is that the said plea has no
foundation at all. 
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FURTHER SUBMISSIONS
12. On 09th February 2022, submissions were concluded.
Thereafter, we noticed that sub­section (5) of Section 20 of
the 2015 Act was not brought to our notice during the course
of submissions.  Therefore, on 10th March 2022, the appeals
were again listed on Board for further hearing, and time was
granted to the learned counsel appearing for the parties to
make   further   submissions   on   the   limited   issue   of   the
applicability of sub­section (5) of Section 20 of the 2015 Act.
Thereafter, the appeals could not be listed immediately due
to the change of the constitution of the Bench.  Ultimately,
further submissions were heard on 23rd August 2022.  
13.      Ms.   Nitya   Ramakrishnan,   learned   senior   counsel
appearing for the appellants pointed out that though subsection (5) of Section 20, which overrides the provisions of
CrPC, provides that the accused shall not be granted bail if it
is noticed by the Special Court that he was on bail in an
offence under the 2015 Act or under any other Act on the
date of the offence in question, the same will not come in the
way of the appellants getting default bail.  She pointed out
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that an identical provision in the form of sub­section (5) of
Section 21 of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime
Act, 1999 (for short, ‘the MCOCA’) has been partially struck
down   by   the   Bombay   High   Court   in   the   case   of  Bharat
Shanti  Lal  Shah  &  Ors.  v.  State  of  Maharashtra11.   She
pointed   out   that   this   Court   in   the   case   of  State   of
Maharashtra  v.  Bharat   Shanti   Lal   Shah   &   Ors.12  has
affirmed the said view.   This Court, for reasons recorded,
held   that   the   expression   “or   under   any   other   Act”   as
appearing in sub­section (5) of Section 21 of the MCOCA was
arbitrary and discriminatory. 
RESPONSE OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL OF INDIA
14. Shri Tushar Mehta, learned Solicitor General of India
submitted that in view of the pronouncement of law by this
Court in the case of Bharat Shanti Lal Shah12, sub­section
(5) of Section 20 of the 2015 Act will not by itself be an
impediment in the way of the appellants getting default bail.
With   the   permission   of   the   Court,   he   made   additional
submissions.   He relied upon Section 461 of CrPC which
11 2003 All MR (Crl.) 1061
12 (2008) 13 SCC 5
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contains   an   exhaustive   list   of   irregularities   that   vitiate
proceedings.   He urged that the irregularity alleged in this
case is not a part of the list of irregularities contained in the
said provision. He also invited our attention to sub­section
(2) of Section 465 of CrPC.  His submission is that as held by
this Court in the case of  Sanjay  Dutt2
, the accused is not
entitled to a written notice of the application made by the
Public   Prosecutor   for   extension   of   the  period   provided   to
carry out the investigation and only his presence is to be
procured when the application is heard by the Special Court.
He submitted that the accused is not entitled to receive a
copy of the application/ report made under the proviso to
sub­section (2) of Section 20 of the 2015 Act and, therefore,
he is not entitled to make any submissions on the report of
the   Public   Prosecutor.     He   submitted   that   there   is   no
prejudice caused to the appellants as a result of the failure of
the investigating agency to produce them before the Special
Court   when   applications   for   extension   were   heard.     He
submitted that the failure to produce the appellants on the
date on which extension applications were heard, is a mere
irregularity in the proceedings which will have no effect on
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further stages such as cognizance, trial, etc.  On this aspect,
he relied upon a decision of this Court in the case of Fertico
Marketing & Investment Private Limited & Ors. v. Central
Bureau   of   Investigation   &   Anr.13.     He   also   relied   upon
another decision of this Court in the case of Securities and
Exchange Board of India etc.  v. Gaurav Varshney & Anr.
etc.14.  He urged that the applications for availing of default
bail were filed by the appellants after the time was extended
by the Special Court.  He would, therefore, submit that the
appellants are not entitled to default bail.  He also submitted
that   the   allegations   against   the   appellants   are   of   a   very
serious nature.   Even this aspect needs to be taken into
consideration. 
CONSIDERATION OF SUBMISSIONS
15. We   have   carefully   considered   the   submissions.   The
entire issue revolves around the interpretation of the proviso
added by the 2015 Act to sub­section (2) of Section 167 of
CrPC. For that purpose, we must refer to Section 20 of the
2015 Act. The Section reads thus:­
13 (2021) 2 SCC 525
14 (2016) 14 SCC 430.
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“20. Modified   Application   of   Certain
provisions of Code:
(1)   Notwithstanding   anything   contained   in   the
Code or in any other law, every offence punishable
under this Act shall be deemed to be a 'cognizable
offence' within the meaning of clause (c) of section
2 of the Code and 'cognizable case' as defined in
that clause and shall be construed accordingly.
(2) Section 167 of the Code shall apply in relation
to a case involving an offence punishable under
this Act subject to the modifications that in subsection (2), ­
(a)   the   reference   to   "fifteen   days"   and   "sixty
days", wherever they occur, shall be construed 
as   references   to   "thirty   days"   and   "ninety
days", respectively; 
(b)   after   the   existing   proviso,   the   following
proviso shall be inserted, namely: ­ 
"Provided   further  that   if   it   is  not  possible
to  complete   the   investigation  within  the   said
period  of  ninety  days,  the  Special  Court  shall
extend  the   said  period  upto  one  hundred  and
eighty   days   on   the   report   of   the   Public
Prosecutor   indicating   the   progress   of   the
investigation   and   the   specific   reasons   for
detention   of   the   accused   beyond   the   said
period of ninety days.". 
(3) Nothing   in   section   438   of   the   Code   shall
apply in relation to any case involving the arrest of
any   person   accused   of   having   committed   an
offence punishable under this Act. 
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(4) Notwithstanding anything contained in the
Code, no person accused of an offence punishable
under this Act shall, if in custody, be released on
bail or on his own bond, unless – 
(a)   the   Public   Prosecutor   has   been   given   an
opportunity to oppose the application of such
release; and 
(b)   where   the   Public   Prosecutor   opposes   the
application, the Special Court is satisfied that
there are reasonable grounds for believing that
accused is not guilty of committing such offence
and that he is not likely to commit any offence
while on bail.
(5)  Notwithstanding  anything  contained   in  the
Code, the accused shall not be granted bail if it
is noticed by the Special Court that he was on
bail in an offence under this Act, or under any
other   Act   on   the   date   of   the   offence   in
question.
(6) The restriction on granting of bail specified in
sub­sections   (4)   and   (5)   are   in   addition   to   the
restriction under the Code or any other law for the
time being in force on the granting of bail.
(7) The police officer seeking the custody of any
person for pre­indictment or pre­trial interrogation
from   the   judicial   custody   shall   file   a   written
statement explaining the reasons for seeking such
custody and also for the delay, if any, in seeking
the police custody.”
[emphasis added]
We also reproduce sub­sections (1) and (2) of Section 167
of CrPC which read thus:­
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“167.   Procedure   when   investigation   cannot   be
completed in twenty­four hours.
(1) Whenever any person is arrested and detained in
custody, and it appears that the investigation cannot
be completed within the period of twenty­four hours
fixed   by   section   57,   and   there   are   grounds   for
believing that the accusation or information is wellfounded, the officer in charge of the police station or
the police officer making the investigation, if he is not
below   the   rank   of   sub­inspector,   shall   forthwith
transmit to the nearest Judicial Magistrate a copy of
the entries in the diary hereinafter prescribed relating
to the case, and shall at the same time forward the
accused to such Magistrate.
(2) The Magistrate to whom an accused person is
forwarded under this section may, whether he has or
has not jurisdiction to try the case, from time to time,
authorise   the   detention   of   the   accused   in   such
custody as such Magistrate thinks fit, for a term not
exceeding fifteen days in the whole; and if he has no
jurisdiction to try the case or commit it for trial, and
considers   further   detention   unnecessary,   he   may
order the accused to be forwarded to a Magistrate
having such jurisdiction:
Provided that­­
(a) the Magistrate may authorise the detention of the
accused person, otherwise than in the custody of the
police,   beyond   the   period   of   fifteen   days,   if   he   is
satisfied that adequate grounds exist for doing so,
but no Magistrate shall authorise the detention of the
accused person in custody under this paragraph for a
total period exceeding­­
(i) ninety days, where the investigation relates to an
offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life
or imprisonment for a term of not less than ten years;
(ii) sixty days, where the investigation relates to any
other offence, and, on the expiry of the said period of
ninety days, or sixty days, as the case may be, the
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accused   person   shall   be   released   on   bail   if   he   is
prepared to and does furnish bail, and every person
released   on   bail   under   this   sub­section   shall   be
deemed  to  be  so  released  under the  provisions  of
Chapter XXXIII for the purposes of that Chapter;
(b) no Magistrate shall authorise detention of the
accused   in   custody   of   the   police   under   this
section unless the accused is produced before him
in   person   for   the   first   time   and   subsequently
every time till the accused remains in the custody
of   the   police,   but   the   Magistrate   may   extend
further   detention   in   judicial   custody   on
production   of   the   accused   either   in   person   or
through the medium of electronic video linkage;
(c) no Magistrate of the second class, not specially
empowered in this behalf by the High Court, shall
authorise detention in the custody of the police.
Explanation I.­­For the avoidance of doubts, it is
hereby declared that, notwithstanding the expiry of
the  period   specified  in  paragraph  (a),   the  accused
shall be detained in custody so long as he does not
furnish bail.
Explanation II.­­If any question arises whether
an   accused   person   was   produced   before   the
Magistrate   as   required   under   clause   (b),   the
production of the accused person may be proved by
his signature on the order authorising detention or
by   the   order   certified   by   the   Magistrate   as   to
production   of   the   accused   person   through   the
medium of electronic video linkage, as the case may
be.
Provided further that in case of a woman under
eighteen   years   of   age,   the   detention   shall   be
authorised to be in the custody of a remand home or
recognised social institution.”
[emphasis added]
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16. Thus,   in   a   case   involving   the   offences   punishable
under   the   2015   Act,   the   Special   Court   is   authorized   to
detain   the   accused   person   in   custody   for   a   period   not
exceeding 90 days. The proviso added by sub­section (2) of
Section 20 of the 2015 Act to sub­Section (2) of Section 167
of CrPC enables the Special Court to extend the said period
to a total of 180 days on the basis of a report of the Public
Prosecutor setting out the progress of the investigation and
incorporating the specific reasons for the detention of the
accused beyond the period of 90 days. 
17. Thus, unless the Special Court exercises the power
under the proviso added by the 2015 Act to sub­section (2)
of Section 167 of CrPC, on the expiry of the period of 90
days, the accused will be entitled to default bail. When the
Special Court exercises the power under the proviso added
to sub­section (2) of Section 167 of CrPC and extends the
time up to 180 days, the accused will be entitled to default
bail only if the charge sheet is not filed within the extended
period.
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18. As  can be seen from sub­section (2) of Section 20 of
the 2015 Act, the provisions of Section 167 of CrPC and in
particular sub­section (2) thereof containing entitlement of
the accused to default bail will apply to the 2015 Act with
the modification that the reference to the period of “fifteen
days” and “sixty days” provided in sub­section (2) of Section
167 of CrPC is required to be construed as a reference to
“thirty days” and “ninety days” respectively.  The proviso to
sub­section (2) of Section 20 of the 2015 Act enables the
Special Court to extend the period provided in sub­section
(2) of Section 167 of CrPC up to 180 days.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES GOVERNING DEFAULT BAIL
19. Before we go to the main controversy concerning the
legality of the order of extension passed in exercise of the
power under the proviso to sub­section (2) of Section 20 of
the 2015 Act, it is necessary to recapitulate the settled law
relating to default bail.  Three decisions of the Benches of
three Hon’ble Judges of this Court have laid down the law
on this aspect.  
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19.(a) The first decision is in the case of Uday Mohanlal
Acharya  v.  State   of   Maharashtra15.     In   paragraph   13
thereof,   the   majority   view   has   been   summarised   which
reads thus : 
“…. …. …. ….
On   the   aforesaid   premises,   we   would   record   our
conclusions as follows:
1. Under sub­section (2) of Section 167, a Magistrate
before whom an accused is produced while the police is
investigating into the offence can authorise detention of
the accused in such custody as the Magistrate thinks fit
for a term not exceeding 15 days on the whole.
2. Under the proviso to the aforesaid sub­section (2) of
Section 167, the Magistrate may authorise detention of
the accused otherwise than in the custody of police for a
total   period   not   exceeding   90   days   where   the
investigation   relates  to   offence  punishable  with  death,
imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term of not
less than 10 years, and 60 days where the investigation
relates to any other offence.
3. On the expiry of the said period of 90 days or 60
days,   as   the   case   may   be,   an   indefeasible   right
accrues in favour of the accused for being released on
bail on account of default by the investigating agency
in   the   completion   of   the   investigation   within   the
period  prescribed   and   the   accused   is   entitled   to   be
released on bail, if he is prepared to and furnishes the
bail as directed by the Magistrate.
4. When an application for bail is filed by an accused
for enforcement of his indefeasible right alleged to have
been accrued in his favour on account of default on the
part   of   the   investigating   agency   in   completion   of   the
investigation   within   the   specified   period,   the
Magistrate/court must dispose of it forthwith, on being
satisfied that in fact the accused has been in custody for
15 (2001) 5 SCC 453
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the period of 90 days or 60 days, as specified and no
charge­sheet has been filed by the investigating agency.
Such prompt action on the part of the Magistrate/court
will not enable the prosecution to frustrate the object of
the Act and the legislative mandate of an accused being
released on bail on account of the default on the part of
the investigating agency in completing the investigation
within the period stipulated.
5.   If   the   accused   is   unable   to   furnish   the   bail   as
directed by the Magistrate, then on a conjoint reading of
Explanation   I   and   the   proviso   to   sub­section   (2)   of
Section 167, the continued custody of the accused even
beyond   the   specified   period   in   para   (a)   will   not   be
unauthorised, and therefore, if during that period the
investigation is complete and the charge­sheet is filed
then the so­called indefeasible right of the accused would
stand extinguished.
6.  The expression “if not already  availed of” used
by this Court in Sanjay Dutt case [(1994) 5 SCC 410 :
1994  SCC   (Cri)  1433]  must   be  understood   to  mean
when the accused files an application and is prepared
to   offer   bail   on   being   directed.   In   other   words,   on
expiry   of   the   period   specified   in   para   (a)   of   the
proviso   to   sub­section   (2)   of   Section   167   if   the
accused files an application for bail and offers also to
furnish the bail on being directed, then it has to be
held that the accused has availed of his indefeasible
right  even  though  the  court  has  not  considered  the
said application and has not indicated the terms and
conditions of bail, and the accused has not furnished
the same.
With   the   aforesaid   interpretation   of   the   expression
“availed of” if the charge­sheet is filed subsequent to
the availing of the indefeasible right by the accused
then   that   right   would   not   stand   frustrated   or
extinguished,   necessarily   therefore,   if   an   accused
entitled  to  be  released  on  bail  by  application  of  the
proviso to sub­section (2) of Section 167, makes the
application before the Magistrate, but the Magistrate
erroneously   refuses   the   same   and   rejects   the
application  and  then  the  accused  moves   the  higher
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forum  and  while  the  matter  remains  pending  before
the higher forum for consideration a charge­sheet is
filed,  the   so­called   indefeasible  right  of  the  accused
would   not   stand   extinguished   thereby,   and   on   the
other  hand,  the  accused  has  to  be  released  on  bail.
Such an accused, who thus is entitled to be released on
bail in enforcement of his indefeasible right will, however,
have to be produced before the Magistrate on a chargesheet being filed in accordance with Section 209 and the
Magistrate must deal with him in the matter of remand to
custody subject to the provisions of the Code relating to
bail and subject to the provisions of cancellation of bail,
already granted in accordance with the law laid down by
this   Court   in   the   case   of Mohd.   Iqbal v. State   of
Maharashtra [(1996) 1 SCC 722 : 1996 SCC (Cri) 202] .”
[emphasis added]
19(b) The   second   decision   is   in   the   case   of  M.
Ravindran7
.   The conclusions in the said decision can be
summarised as under : 
(i) Majority   view   in   the   case   of  Uday   Mohanlal
Acharya15 is correct;
(ii) Sub­section (2) of Section 167 of CrPC was enacted
for providing an outer time limit to the period of
remand   of   the   accused   proportionate   to   the
seriousness of the offence alleged. On the failure to
complete the investigation within the defined outer
limit,  the accused acquires an indefeasible right to
get default bail;
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(iii) The   timelines   provided   under   sub­section   (2)   of
Section 167, CrPC ensure that investigating officers
are compelled to act swiftly and efficiently without
misusing   the   prospect   of   further   remand.     This
provision ensures that the Court takes cognizance
of the case without undue delay after investigation
is   completed   within   the   time   provided   in   subsection (2) of Section 167, CrPC;
(iv) The   Legislature   has   enacted   sub­section   (2)   of
Section   167   for   balancing   the   need   to   provide
sufficient time to complete the investigation with
the  need  to  protect  civil liberties  of  the   accused
which   is   given   paramount   importance   in   our
Constitution;
(v) Sub­section (2) of Section 167 is integrally linked to
the constitutional commitment under Article 21 of
the Constitution of India promising protection of the
personal   liberty   against   unlawful   and   arbitrary
detention;
(vi) The decision of this Court in the case of  S.  Kasi5
was quoted with the approval which holds that the
indefeasible right to default bail is an integral part
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of the right to personal liberty under Article 21 and
the said right cannot be suspended even during the
pandemic situation; and
(vii) It is well settled that in case of any ambiguity in the
construction   of   a   penal   statute,   the   Court   must
favour   the   interpretation   which   leans   towards
protecting the rights of the accused.  This principle
is   applicable   even   in   the   case   of   a   procedure
providing for curtailment of liberty of the accused. 
19.(c)  The   third   decision   is   in   the   case   of  Rakesh
Kumar Paul v. State of Assam16.  This decision holds that
it   is   the   duty   of   the   learned   Magistrate   to   inform   the
accused, of the availability of indefeasible right under subsection (2) of Section 167 of CrPC once it accrues to him.  It
was held that this will ensure that dilatory tactics of the
prosecution are thwarted and obligations under Article 21 of
the Constitution are upheld.
20. The issue involved in these appeals will have to be
decided   in   the   context   of   the   legal   position   that   the
indefeasible right to default bail under sub­section (2) of
16 (2017) 15 SCC 67
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Section 167, CrPC is an integral part of the fundamental
right to personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution
of India.
IMPEDIMENT OF SUB­SECTION (5) OF 
SECTION 20 OF THE 2015 ACT
21. Sub­section (5) of Section 20 reads thus : 
“20. Modified application of certain provisions of
Code.
… … … … …
(5)   Notwithstanding   anything   contained   in   the
Code, the accused shall not be granted bail if it is
noticed by the Special Court that he was on bail
in an offence under this Act, or under any other
Act on the date of the offence in question.”
Sub­section   (5)   of   Section   21   of   the   MCOCA   contained
identical   provision.     In   the   case   of  Bharat   Shanti   Lal
Shah12, this Court, for the reasons recorded in paragraphs
62 to 65, concurred with the view of Bombay High Court
that the expression “or under any other Act” appearing in
sub­section (5) of Section 21 of the MCOCA was violative of
Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution and, therefore, it
must be struck down.  Hence, the same expression used in
sub­section   (5)   of   Section   20   of   the   2015   Act   infringes
Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.  In the facts of the
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case, none of the appellants were on bail for any offence
under the 2015 Act and hence, no impediment has been
created by sub­section (5) of Section 20 in the facts of these
cases for considering the prayer for default bail. 
THE EFFECT OF THE FAILURE OF THE RESPONDENTS
TO PRODUCE THE APPELLANTS BEFORE THE SPECIAL
COURT   AT   THE   TIME   OF   CONSIDERATION   OF   THE
EXTENSION APPLICATION
22. The question before us is about the legal consequences
of the failure of the Special Court under the 2015 Act to
procure   the   presence   of   the   accused   at   the   time  of   the
consideration   of   the   reports   submitted   by   the   Public
Prosecutor for a grant of extension of time to complete the
investigation. In addition, we will have to consider the effect
of the failure to give notice to the accused of the reports
submitted by the Public Prosecutor. 
23.  Under Clause (bb) of sub­Section (4) of Section 20 of
TADA, there is a  pari materia  proviso that empowers the
Designated Court to extend the period provided in clause (a)
of Sub­Section (2) of Section 167 of CrPC. Clause (bb) reads
thus :
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“(bb) in sub­section (2), after the proviso, the following
proviso shall be inserted, namely:—
‘Provided   further   that,   if   it   is   not   possible   to
complete the investigation within the said period of
one hundred and eighty days, the Designated Court
shall extend the said period up to one year, on the
report   of   the   Public   Prosecutor   indicating   the
progress   of   the   investigation   and   the   specific
reasons for the detention of the accused beyond the
said period of one hundred and eighty days; and’ ”
The   said   proviso   came   up   for   consideration   before   this
Court   in   the   case   of  Hitendra   Vishnu   Thakur1
.     In
paragraph 23 this Court held thus:
“23. We may at this stage, also on a plain reading
of clause (bb) of sub­section (4) of Section 20, point
out that the Legislature has provided for seeking
extension of time for completion of investigation on
a report of the public prosecutor. The Legislature
did  not  purposely   leave   it   to   an   investigating
officer   to   make   an   application   for   seeking
extension   of   time   from   the   court.   This
provision is in tune with the legislative intent
to   have   the   investigations   completed
expeditiously and not to allow an accused to be
kept   in   continued   detention   during
unnecessary   prolonged   investigation   at   the
whims   of   the   police.   The   Legislature   expects
that the investigation must be completed with
utmost   promptitude   but   where   it   becomes
necessary   to   seek   some   more   time   for
completion   of   the   investigation,   the
investigating agency  must submit itself to  the
scrutiny   of   the   public   prosecutor   in   the   first
instance and satisfy him about the progress of
the   investigation   and   furnish   reasons   for
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seeking further custody of an accused. A public
prosecutor   is   an   important   officer   of   the   State
Government and is appointed by the State under
the Code of Criminal Procedure. He is not a part of
the   investigating   agency.   He   is   an   independent
statutory   authority.   The   public   prosecutor   is
expected to independently apply his mind to the
request   of   the   investigating   agency   before
submitting a report to the court for extension of
time with a view to enable the investigating agency
to complete the investigation. He is not merely a
post   office   or   a   forwarding   agency.   A   public
prosecutor may or may not agree with the reasons
given   by   the   investigating   officer   for   seeking
extension   of   time   and   may   find   that   the
investigation   had   not   progressed   in   the   proper
manner   or   that   there   has   been   unnecessary,
deliberate   or   avoidable   delay   in   completing   the
investigation. In that event, he may not submit
any report to the court under clause (bb) to seek
extension of time. Thus, for seeking extension of
time under clause (bb), the public prosecutor after
an   independent   application   of   his   mind   to   the
request of the investigating agency is required to
make a report to the Designated Court indicating
therein   the   progress   of   the   investigation   and
disclosing justification for keeping the accused in
further custody to enable the investigating agency
to   complete   the   investigation.  The   public
prosecutor   may   attach   the   request   of   the
investigating  officer  along  with  his  request  or
application   and   report,   but   his report,   as
envisaged  under   clause   (bb),  must  disclose  on
the face of it that he has applied his mind and
was   satisfied   with   the   progress   of   the
investigation   and   considered   grant   of   further
time  to  complete   the   investigation  necessary.
The use of the expression “on the report of the
public prosecutor indicating the progress of the
investigation and   the   specific   reasons for   the
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detention   of   the   accused   beyond   the   said
period”   as   occurring   in   clause   (bb)   in   subsection   (2)   of   Section   167   as   amended   by
Section  20(4)   are   important   and   indicative   of
the legislative intent not to keep an accused in
custody   unreasonably   and   to   grant   extension
only   on   the report of   the   public   prosecutor.
The report of   the  public  prosecutor,   therefore,
is not merely a formality but a very vital report,
because   the   consequence   of   its   acceptance
affects  the   liberty  of  an  accused  and   it  must,
therefore,   strictly   comply   with   the
requirements   as   contained   in   clause   (bb). The
request of an investigating officer for extension of
time is no substitute for the report of the public
prosecutor. Where either no report as is envisaged
by   clause   (bb)   is   filed   or   the report filed   by   the
public   prosecutor   is   not   accepted   by   the
Designated Court, since the grant of extension of
time under clause (bb) is neither a formality nor
automatic, the necessary corollary would be that
an accused would be entitled to seek bail and the
court ‘shall’ release him on bail if he furnishes
bail as required by the Designated Court. It is not
merely the question of form in which the request
for extension under clause (bb) is made but one of
substance.  The   contents   of   the report to   be
submitted   by   the   public   prosecutor,   after
proper application of his mind, are designed to
assist   the   Designated   Court   to   independently
decide   whether   or   not   extension   should   be
granted   in   a   given   case.  Keeping   in   view   the
consequences   of   the   grant   of   extension   i.e.
keeping   an   accused   in   further   custody,   the
Designated   Court   must   be   satisfied   for   the
justification,   from   the report of   the   public
prosecutor,   to   grant   extension   of   time   to
complete the investigation.
34
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
Where  the  Designated  Court  declines  to  grant
such an extension, the right to be released on
bail   on   account   of   the   ‘default’   of   the
prosecution   becomes   indefeasible   and   cannot
be   defeated   by   reasons   other   than   those
contemplated  by  sub­section   (4)  of  Section  20
as   discussed   in   the   earlier   part   of   this
judgment.  We   are   unable   to   agree   with   Mr.
Madhava Reddy or the Additional Solicitor General
Mr.   Tulsi   that   even   if   the   public   prosecutor
‘presents’ the request of the investigating officer to
the   court   or   ‘forwards’   the   request   of   the
investigating   officer   to   the   court,   it   should   be
construed to be the report of the public prosecutor.
There is no scope for such a construction when we
are dealing with the liberty of a citizen. The courts
are   expected   to   zealously   safeguard   his   liberty.
Clause (bb) has to be read and interpreted on its
plain language without addition or substitution of
any expression in it. We have already dealt with
the   importance   of   the report of   the   public
prosecutor and emphasised that he is neither a
‘post office’ of the investigating agency nor its
‘forwarding   agency’   but   is   charged   with   a
statutory duty. He must apply his mind to the
facts   and   circumstances   of   the   case   and
his report must  disclose  on  the   face  of   it  that
he had applied his mind to the twin conditions
contained   in   clause   (bb)   of   sub­section   (4)   of
Section   20.   Since   the   law   requires   him   to
submit  the report as  envisaged  by  the  section,
he must act in the manner as provided by the
section and in no other manner. A Designated
Court   which   overlooks   and   ignores   the
requirements   of   a   valid report fails   in   the
performance  of one  of  its  essential  duties  and
renders   its  order  under  clause   (bb)  vulnerable.
Whether the public prosecutor labels his report as
35
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
a report or   as  an application for   extension,   would
not   be   of   much   consequence   so   long   as   it
demonstrates on the face of it that he has applied
his mind and is satisfied with the progress of the
investigation and the genuineness of the reasons
for   grant   of   extension   to   keep   an   accused   in
further   custody   as   envisaged   by   clause   (bb)
(supra).   Even   the   mere   reproduction   of   the
application or request of the investigating officer by
the   public   prosecutor   in   his   report,   without
demonstration of the application of his mind and
recording his own satisfaction, would not render
his report as the one envisaged by clause (bb) and
it would not be a proper report to seek extension of
time. In the absence of an appropriate report the
Designated   Court   would   have   no   jurisdiction   to
deny to an accused his indefeasible right to be
released on bail on account of the default of the
prosecution   to   file   the   challan   within   the
prescribed   time   if   an   accused   seeks   and   is
prepared to furnish the bail bonds as directed by
the   court.  Moreover,   no   extension   can   be
granted to keep an accused in custody beyond
the   prescribed   period except   to   enable   the
investigation to   be   completed   and   as   already
stated   before   any   extension   is   granted   under
clause (bb), the accused must be put on notice
and permitted to have his say so as to be able
to object to the grant of extension.”
[emphasis added]
24.  The same issue came up for consideration before the
Constitution Bench in this Court in the case of Sanjay Dutt2
.
A   specific   submission   was   made   before   the   Constitution
Bench that the notice to the accused of the application for
36
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
the extension as contemplated by the decision in the case of
Hitendra   Vishnu   Thakur1
  is   not   a   written   notice.   The
argument was that when the report of the Public Prosecutor
is considered by the Special Court, it is enough that the
presence of the accused is procured before the Special Court
and the accused is informed that such a report has been
submitted by the Public Prosecutor. By accepting the said
submission,   the   Constitution   Bench   summarised   its
conclusions as under:­
“53. (2)(a) Section 20(4) (bb) of the TADA Act only
requires   production   of   the   accused   before   the
court   in   accordance   with   Section   167(1)   of   the
Code  of  Criminal  Procedure  and  this   is  how  the
requirement   of   notice   to   the   accused   before
granting  extension  beyond  the  prescribed  period
of   180   days   in   accordance   with   the   further
proviso to clause (bb) of Sub­section (4) of Section
20 of the TADA Act has to be understood in the
judgment  of  the  Division  Bench  of  this  Court   in
Hitendra Vishnu Thakur. The requirement of such
notice   to   the   accused   before   granting   the
extension for completing the investigation is not
a   written   notice   to   the   accused   giving   reasons
therein. Production of the accused at that time in
the   court   informing   him   that   the   question   of
extension   of   the   period   for   completing   the
investigation   is   being   considered,   is   alone
sufficient for the purpose.”
[emphasis added]
37
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
25. In the case of  Devinderpal  Singh  v.  Government  of
National   Capital   Territory   of   Delhi17,   this   Court   in
paragraphs 14 and 15 held thus : 
“14. In Hitendra Vishnu Thakur case [(1994) 4 SCC 602
:  1994   SCC  (Cri)   1087]  it  was  also   opined   that   no
extension   can   be   granted   by   the   Designated   Court
under clause (bb) unless the accused is put on notice
and permitted to have his say so as to be able to object
to the grant of extension.
15.    The  Constitution  Bench   in  Sanjay  Dutt  case
[(1994)  5  SCC  410   :  1994  SCC   (Cri)  1433]  did not
express   any   contrary   opinion   insofar   as   the
requirement of the report of the Public Prosecutor
for grant of extension is concerned or on the effect
of the absence of such a report under clause (bb) of
Section   20(4),   but   observed   that   the   ‘notice’
contemplated   in   the   decision   in  Hitendra  Vishnu
Thakur   case  [(1994)  4  SCC  602   :  1994  SCC   (Cri)
1087]  before  granting  extension   for  completion  of
investigation   is  not  to  be  construed  as  a  “written
notice”   to   the   accused   and   that   only   the
production   of   the   accused   at   the   time   of
consideration of the report of the Public Prosecutor
for grant of extension and informing him that the
question of extension of the period for completing
the   investigation   was   being   considered   would   be
sufficient notice to the accused.”
[emphasis added]
26. In   the   case   of  Ateef   Nasir   Mulla3
,   this   Court
considered   a   similar   provision   under   POTA.   In   the   said
decision, the law laid down in the case of Sanjay Dutt2
 was
17 (1996) 1 SCC 44
38
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
followed.   In   the   facts   of   the   case,   it   was   found   that   the
accused   along   with   his   Advocate   were   present   when   the
request for extension of time to carry on the investigation was
considered by the Court and, in fact, a copy of the report
praying for the extension was provided to the accused to
enable him to file a reply.
27.      In   the   case   of  Sanjay   Kumar   Kedia4
,   this   Court
considered a similar provision under the NDPS Act. However,
this Court did not consider the binding precedent in the case
of  Sanjay   Dutt2
.     Therefore,   this   decision   will   not   be   a
binding precedent.
28. Clause (b) of sub­section (2) of Section 167 of CrPC
lays down that no Magistrate shall authorise the detention of
the accused in the custody of the police unless the accused is
produced before him in person.  It also provides that judicial
custody can be extended on the production of the accused
either in person or through the medium of electronic video
linkage.     Thus,   the   requirement   of   the   law   is   that   while
extending the remand to judicial custody, the presence of the
accused has to be procured either physically or virtually.
39
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
This is the mandatory requirement of law. This requirement
is  sine qua non  for the exercise of the power to extend the
judicial custody remand. The reason is that the accused has
a right to oppose the prayer for the extension of the remand.
When   the   Special   Court   exercises   the   power   of   granting
extension under the proviso to sub­section (2) of Section 20
of the 2015 Act, it will necessarily lead to the extension of the
judicial custody beyond the period of 90 days up to 180 days.
Therefore, even in terms of the requirement of clause (b) of
sub­section (2) of Section 167 of CrPC, it is mandatory to
procure the presence of the accused before the Special Court
when a prayer of the prosecution for the extension of time to
complete investigation is considered. In fact, the Constitution
Bench of this Court in the first part of paragraph 53(2)(a) in
its   decision   in   the   case   of   Sanjay  Dutt2  holds   so.   The
requirement of the report under proviso added by sub­section
(2) of Section 20 of the 2015 Act to clause (b) of sub­section
(2) of Section 167 of CrPC is two­fold.  Firstly, in the report of
the   Public   Prosecutor,   the   progress   of   the   investigation
should be set out and secondly, the report must disclose
specific reasons for continuing the detention of the accused
40
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
beyond the said period of 90 days.  Therefore, the extension
of time is not an empty formality.  The Public Prosecutor has
to apply his mind before he submits a report/ an application
for extension.   The prosecution has to make out a case in
terms of both the aforesaid requirements and the Court must
apply its mind to the contents of the report before accepting
the prayer for grant of extension.  
29. As noted earlier, the only modification made by the
larger Bench in the case of Sanjay Dutt2
 to the decision in
the case of Hitendra Vishnu Thakur1
 is about the mode of
service of notice of the application for extension.  In so many
words, in paragraph 53(2)(a) of the Judgment, this Court in
the case of Sanjay Dutt2
 held that it is mandatory to produce
the   accused   at   the   time   when   the   Court   considers   the
application   for   extension   and   that   the   accused   must   be
informed   that   the   question   of   extension   of   the   period   of
investigation is being considered.   The accused may not be
entitled to get a copy of the report as a matter of right as it
may contain details of the investigation carried out.  But, if
we   accept   the   submission   of   the   respondents   that   the
41
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
accused has no say in the matter, the requirement of giving
notice by producing the accused will become an empty and
meaningless   formality.   Moreover,   it   will   be   against   the
mandate of clause (b) of the proviso to sub­section (2) of
section 167 of CrPC.  It cannot be accepted that the accused
is not entitled to raise any objection to the application for
extension.  The scope of the objections may be limited.  The
accused can always point out to the Court that the prayer
has to be made by the Public Prosecutor and not by the
investigating   agency.     Secondly,   the   accused   can   always
point out the twin requirements of the report in terms of
proviso added by sub­section (2) of Section 20 of the 2015
Act to sub­section (2) of Section 167 of CrPC.  The accused
can always point out to the Court that unless it is satisfied
that full compliance is made with the twin requirements, the
extension cannot be granted.
30. The   logical   and   legal   consequence   of   the   grant   of
extension of time is the deprivation of the indefeasible right
available to the accused to claim a default bail.  If we accept
the argument that the failure of the prosecution to produce
42
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
the accused before the Court and to inform him that the
application of extension is being considered by the Court is a
mere procedural irregularity, it will negate the proviso added
by sub­section (2) of Section 20 of the 2015 Act and that may
amount to violation of rights conferred by Article 21 of the
Constitution. The reason is the grant of the extension of time
takes away the right of the accused to get default bail which
is   intrinsically   connected   with   the   fundamental   rights
guaranteed   under   Article   21   of   the   Constitution.       The
procedure   contemplated   by   Article   21   of   the   Constitution
which is required to be followed before the liberty of a person
is taken away has to be a fair and reasonable procedure.  In
fact,   procedural   safeguards   play   an   important   role   in
protecting the liberty guaranteed by Article 21.  The failure to
procure   the   presence   of   the   accused   either   physically   or
virtually before the Court and the failure to inform him that
the   application   made   by   the   Public   Prosecutor   for   the
extension   of   time   is   being   considered,   is   not   a   mere
procedural irregularity.  It is gross illegality that violates the
rights of the accused under Article 21. 
43
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
31. An   attempt   was   made   to   argue   that   the   failure   to
produce the accused will not cause any prejudice to him. As
noted earlier, the grant of extension of time to complete the
investigation takes away the indefeasible right of the accused
to  apply for default  bail.   It takes away the  right of the
accused to raise a limited objection to the prayer for the
extension.   The failure to produce the accused before the
Court   at   the   time   of   consideration   of   the   application   for
extension   of   time   will   amount   to   a   violation   of   the   right
guaranteed   under   Article   21   of   the   Constitution.     Thus,
prejudice is inherent and need not be established by the
accused.
32. The learned Additional Solicitor General relied upon
the decision of this Court in the case of Narender G. Goel9
.
The issue involved in that case was not of extension of time
for   completion   of   the   investigation.     The   issue   generally
discussed therein is about the right of hearing of the accused
at the stage of the investigation.  His reliance on the decision
of this Court in the case of Surendra Pundlik Gadling10 will
not help him at all.  This was a case where the accused was
44
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
not only produced before the Court but he was provided a
copy of the application for extension of time.  The grievance
of the accused was that time of only one day was granted to
contest the application. This contention was rejected. 
33. In the facts of the cases in hand, when the Special
Court   considered   the   reports   submitted   by   the   Public
Prosecutor for grant of extension of time, the presence of the
appellants was admittedly not procured before the Special
Court either personally or through video conference. It is also
an admitted position that information about the filing of such
reports by the Public Prosecutor was not provided to the
accused. It is mentioned in the impugned judgment that due
to COVID – 19, it was not permissible to physically produce
the accused before the Special Court. Moreover, the accused
were   in   different   prisons   and,   therefore,   the   production
through   video   conference   would   have   been   very   slow.
Assuming that the process of production would have been
slow, that is no excuse for not procuring the presence of the
accused   through   video   conference.   Nothing   is   placed   on
record either before this Court or High Court to show that as
45
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
per   the   Standard   Operating   Procedure   applicable   to   the
concerned Court in January 2021 when the impugned orders
were passed granting the extension, it was not permissible to
physically   produce   the   accused   before   the   Special   Court.
There is no material placed on record to show that technical
reasons/difficulties   prevented   the   prosecution   from
producing   the   accused   before   the   Special   Court   through
video conference. It is not possible to accept that in January
2021 in the Court at Rajkot in the State of Gujarat, there was
any connectivity issue.     In fact, admittedly, no such case
was pleaded before the High Court in the pleadings of the
respondents.
34. We must note here that the reports were submitted by
the Public Prosecutor nearly a week before the expiry of the
period of 90 days.   In every case, period of seven days or
more was available for completion of the period of ninety
days.   The orders were passed by the Special Court on the
reports of the Public Prosecutor on the very day on which
reports were submitted.  There was no reason for such hurry.
The Special Court could have always granted time of a couple
46
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
of days to the prosecution to procure the presence of the
accused either physically or through video conference.   The
accused may not be entitled to know the contents of the
report but he is entitled to oppose the grant of extension of
time on the grounds available to him in law.  In the facts of
the   present   case,   the   grant   of   extension   of   time   without
complying   with   the   requirements   laid   down   by   the
Constitution Bench has deprived the accused of their right to
seek default bail.  It has resulted in the failure of justice.
35. The orders passed by the Special Court of extending
the period of investigation are rendered illegal on account of
the failure of the respondents to produce the accused before
the   Special   Court   either   physically   or   virtually   when   the
prayer for grant of extension made by the Public Prosecutor
was   considered.   It   was   the   duty   of   the   Special   Court   to
ensure   that   this   important   procedural   safeguard   was
followed.  Moreover, the oral notice, as contemplated by this
Court in the case of Sanjay Dutt2
, was also not given to the
accused.
47
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
36. Once we hold that the orders granting extension to
complete investigation are illegal and stand vitiated, it follows
that the appellants are entitled to default bail.  
37. When   they   applied   for   bail,   the   appellants   had   no
notice   of   the   extension   of   time   granted   by   the   Court.
Moreover,   the   applications   were   made   before   the   filing   of
charge sheet.   Hence, the appellants are entitled to default
bail.   At this stage, we may note here that in the case of
Sanjay Dutt2
 as well as in the case of Bikramjit Singh6
, this
Court held that grant of default bail does not prevent rearrest   of  the   petitioners   on   cogent   grounds  after  filing   of
charge­sheet.  Thereafter, the accused can always apply for
regular bail.  However, as held by this Court in the case of
Mohamed   Iqbal   Madar   Sheikh   &   Ors.  v.  State   of
Maharashtra18, re­arrest cannot be made only on the ground
of filing of charge sheet.  It all depends on the facts of each
case.
38. Accordingly,   the   impugned   orders   passed   by   the
Special Court granting extension to complete investigation
and   impugned   judgment   of   the   High   Court   are   hereby
18 (1996) 1 SCC 722
48
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
quashed and set aside.  The appellants shall be enlarged on
default bail under sub­section (2) of Section 167 of CrPC on
following conditions : 
(a) The   appellants   shall   furnish   a   bail   bond   of
Rs.2,00,000/­   with   appropriate   sureties   as   may   be
decided by the Special Court;
(b) The appellants shall surrender their passports to the
Special Court at the time of furnishing security;
(c) The appellants shall not interfere in any manner with
the further investigation, if any and shall not make any
effort to influence the prosecution witnesses; and
(d) The appellants shall mark regular attendance with such
police station and at such periodical intervals, as may
be determined by the Special Court; and 
(e) The appellants shall cooperate with the Special Court
for early conclusion of the trial.
39. The appeals are allowed on the above terms.
………..…………………J.
[AJAY RASTOGI]
………..…………………J.
[ABHAY S. OKA]
New Delhi;
September 23, 2022. 
49
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.
ITEM NO.1501 COURT NO.3 SECTION II-B
 S U P R E M E C O U R T O F I N D I A
 RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No(s). 7696/2021
(Arising out of impugned final judgment and order dated 15-09-2021
in CRLMA No. 4928/2021 passed by the High Court Of Gujarat At
Ahmedabad)
JIGAR @ JIMMY PRAVINCHANDRA ADATIYA Petitioner(s)
 VERSUS
STATE OF GUJARAT Respondent(s)
([HEARD BY: HON. AJAY RASTOGI AND HON. ABHAY S. OKA.
JJ].............FOR ADMISSION and I.R. and IA No.129630/2021-
EXEMPTION FROM FILING C/C OF THE IMPUGNED JUDGMENT and IA
No.129632/2021-EXEMPTION FROM FILING O.T. )
WITH
SLP(Crl) No. 7609/2021 (II-B)
(FOR ADMISSION and I.R. and IA No.128171/2021-EXEMPTION FROM FILING
C/C OF THE IMPUGNED JUDGMENT and IA No.128172/2021-EXEMPTION FROM
FILING O.T.)
SLP(Crl) No. 7678-7679/2021 (II-B)
(FOR ADMISSION and I.R. and IA No.129241/2021-EXEMPTION FROM FILING
C/C OF THE IMPUGNED JUDGMENT and IA No.129242/2021-EXEMPTION FROM
FILING O.T.)
SLP(Crl) No. 7758/2021 (II-B)
Date : 23-09-2022 These appeals were called on for pronouncement
of judgment today.
For Petitioner(s) Ms. Nitya Ramakrishnan, Sr. Adv.
Mr. Pradhuman Gohil, Adv.
Mrs. Taruna Singh Gohil, AOR
Ms. Ranu Purohit, Adv.
Mr. Alapati Sahithya Krishna, Adv.
 Mr. Nikhil Goel, AOR

For Respondent(s) Mr. Rajat Nair, Adv.
Ms. Deepanwita Priyanka, AOR
50
Crl.A.@SLP(Crl.)No.7696 of 2021 etc.

 The Court pronounced the following
 J U D G M E N T
Leave granted.
Hon'ble Mr. Justice Abhay S. Oka pronounced
the judgment for the Bench comprising Hon'ble Mr.
Justice Ajay Rastogi and His Lordship.
The appellants are enlarged on default bail in
terms of the signed reportable judgment.
The appeals are allowed.
Pending application(s) stand(s) disposed of.
 (ASHA SUNDRIYAL) (POONAM VAID)
 ASTT. REGISTRAR-cum-PS COURT MASTER (NSH)
[Signed reportable judgment is placed on the file]

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