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Achpal @ Ramswaroop and anr. vs. State of Rajasthan: Case Analysis

CR. APP. NO. 2018 - SLP NO. 6453 OF 2018
Facts
It is respectfully showth:
  1. That the present appeal has been filed by the appellant /accused (referred to as accused no. 1 and 2) with respect to the charges framed against the accused no.1 to 18 punishable u/s 143, 341, 323, 452, 336, 302 r/w section 149 of the IPC
  2. That the accused were arrested by the police officials who were sent on remand to PC. Since then no report is submitted by the police and the accused in the present case were in custody.
  3. That the charges framed against all the co-accused (from accused no. 1 to 18) are cognizable – non-bailable-non compoundable offence. where the court cannot opt for an out-of-court settlement. The offence committed by the accused along with other co-c\accused in order to commit the death of the respondent by constituting unlawful assembly thereby committing house trespass and causing grievous hurt, wrongfully restraint in order to endanger the life of others and the deceased committed the above-stated offence. the act or omission of the accused was intentional, having knowledge that the grievous hurt caused to the respondent would have resulted in his death.

Procedural History
  1. That on 24.03.2018 – First Information Report was listed with P.S Baharwanda Kalan, Distt. Sawai Madhopur
  2. That on 08.04.2018- The accused were arrested by the police officials
  3. That on 5.05.2018- The present plaint filed seeking relief for reasonable and non-biased inspection.
  4. That on 03.07.2018- directives issued by the apex court.
  5. The learned Public Prosecutor for the state has submitted that not only fair investigation shall be conducted by a gazetted police officer, not below the rank of Additional Superintendent of Police but the report of the investigation along with the opinion of the Investigating Officer shall be submitted in the concerned Court within a period of two months from the date of receipt of the certified copy of this order by the Investigating Officer.” The observation made from the above, the court disposed off the said complaint by recording reasons in writing. The court has further observed that since the appellant was put behind the bars on police custody from 08.04.2018, the investigation that has to be operated in accordance with the conditions given under Section 167 of the CRPC should have been completed by 07.07.2018.
    • 6. 05.07.2018- The document submitted by the officer under Section 173 of the Code was submitted by the officer prior to the court namely, the JM. The PR was filed by the officer. The report was submitted through the ASP who is a lower rank police office and not competent enough to forward the current “status quo” To the competent judicial officer, same was therefore perverse to the directive approved by the Apex court on 03.07.2018. The submission was made before the court for issuance of certified copies of the aforesaid order dated 3.7.2018. Subsequently on the expiration of the duration of 90 days an application for bail had been moved by the appellant under section- 167(2) of CRPC.
       
    • 7. 9.7.2018- The judicial magistrate of competent jurisdiction rejected the relief sought by the appellant to grant release of accused u/s 167(2) of CRPC. The Apex Court reports that while the charges submitted dated 5.7.2018, this was not in accordance with the directive released by the apex court, knowing that the charge sheet was refused for further consideration due to technical defaults. However, it is to be noted that the order passed by the high court dated 3.7.2018 was in extension to the period within which the investigation is to be completed.
       
    • 8. 23.7.2018- The rejection of the above application was challenged through criminal bail no.9035 of 2018, the same was subjected to rejection by the high court on the above-mentioned date with reasons on record:
      No case for grant of bail under Section 167(2) CR.P.C. is made out, as the time was extended by the High Court in Criminal Miscellaneous (Petition) No.3517 of 2018 and Investigating Officer was afforded two months’ time to file charge-sheet. It is also, important to note that the Investigating Officer had produced the charge-sheet before the concerned Court prior to 90 days but the same was returned in view of the order of the High Court.
The present appeal was filed challenging the directives delivered by the apex court of law -the same is pending before the court of appeal.

Relevant Laws And Legal Interpretation
The controversy lies on the very fact that whether the time limit given under the sec 167 for completion of the investigation can be extended or not under the provisions of CRPC.this issue is crystallized in the judgement of the court, in the matter of Uday mohan lal acharay V state of Maharashtra[1] , the court took the decision given in the case of Hitendra Vishnu and others V state of Maharashtra[2] and Bipin shantialal Vstate of gujtrat[3]– the court held that on the expiry of 90 days or 60 days of the limitation given under section 167 of the CRPC is an nonsuggestive bonafide view for grant of bail the evasion in making bail would compel the authorities to realize the accused as soon as possible after the expiry of the above said period mentioned under the CRPC.

Such kind of default on the part of the authorities of not realizing the accused after the completion of the investigating period And considering the fact that none of the reports submitted by the authorities would not allow the state to aggravate the objective, would enable authorities to realize the cussed within the period prescribed under the CRPC.

The judgment was given in day moham lal case[4] was constantly followed by the court in other cases also examine the above issue very closely and concluded that the time given under the CRPC for investigating the case should be strictly construed without causing prejudice to either of the parties in the case.

The concurrent matter aroused before the appellate court would be interpreted this stipulation mentioned above can be extended. The past contextual enactment of sec 167 of CRPC has been dealt with in the matter Rakesh Kumar Paul V state of assam[5] where the court considered the State report submitted from legal committee and context, objectives, reasoning which introduces the above code.

The report given by the Law commission clearly examined the delaying tactics adopted by the police officials by submitting incomplete report before the magistrate so that more time could be given for further detaining the accused illegally and compelling the court to exercise power under sec 344 of CRPC further postpone the proceedings to confine the appellants back to the custody. The report asks for strictly construing the above issue with no further extension of time for investigation.

The reason behind the enactment of section 167 under CRPC is to provide the time limit within which the investigation could be completed. which ought not to be completed within 24 hours.

The matter to be decided by the court itself that whether the time period given can be extended or not of whether the accused can be remanded back to the custody of not, all the entries made in the diary should be submitted before the court.

In the case of Rakesh Kumar paul (supra) the court observed as under:
That the petitioner permitted by the court for releasing him against the confinement based upon current circumstances given in the present matter. It was further contended that the magistrate judicially competent must grant realization of the appellant upon reasonable stipulations so imposed. The provision was inserted with the view to protect the arrest of the claimant upon reasonable reasons subject to charges framed against him. Therefore, the claimant is eligible for the realization of the appellant on regular bail allowed upon merit not affecting the arrest of the petitioner.

The matter was further concluded, comprehensibly by J. Deepak Gupta, according to him the person still be subject to be realized on default bail on merits. Therefore, the appellant is eligible for realisation on surety based upon valid reasons. -entitling him a grant of regular bail.

Facts In Issue
  1. Whether The Investigation Was Considered To Be Completed U/S 167(2) Of Crpc?
  2. Whether The Impunged Order Passed By The Hc Subject To Extension Of Limitation Period Given Under Section 167 Of Crpc?
  3. Can The High Court Extend The Period Of Remand?

Arguments Advanced
Contentions Of The Appellant
  1. It was contended by the counsel for the appellant that the police report filed u/s 173 of CRPC(5.7.18) was returned by the judicial magistrate for complying with the order passed by the HC(3.7.18) is inappropriate and contravening with rights guaranteed to the appellant under different laws securing the justice to the appellant
  2. It was further contended by the counsel for the appellant that on the expiry of 90 days, no charge sheet was submitted by officials to JM of competent jurisdiction and thus the order passed by the HC prima facie was inappropriate by neglecting the evidence put on record by the appellant.
  3. It was further urged by the appellant’s counsel that neither any provisions given under the CRPC any duration for the completion of the investigation has been prescribed nor the extension of the above said period could be construed by the HC through passing the impugned order of not extending the period of limitation prescribed by sec. 167 of the CRPC.

Contentions Of Respondent
  1. It was contended by the counsel for the respondent that the investigation in the present case was completed within the duration prescribed by section 167 of the CRPC. Immediately charge sheet was filed by the police officials to the judicial magistrate of the competent jurisdiction on 5.7.18. the court had further returned all the records in compliance with the order dated 3.7.18 for completion of further investigation in the present case.
     
  2. It was further submitted by the respondent that the present order passed by the HC of not allowing the extension of the time in furtherance of the period prescribed by sec.167 of CRPC as appropriate and a move towards upholding the procedure as valid and wholly effective.
Ratio Of The Case
The observations in the present case were made by J. AM Sapre and UU Lalit who confirmed the judgement 2:0-by majority.

The judges were of the opinion about appellant eligible for realization on surety inserted u/s 167(2) of the CRPC irrespectively upon the mere fact that the report submitted by officials was put back by JM due to procedural defaults. The Hon'ble bench further noticed that none of the laws introduced under CRPC empowered anyone to extend the limitation period for completion of investigation beyond the duration prescribed therein.

The court closely examine the validity and correctness of the judgement passed by the HC on order dated 23.7.18.
It was an illusionary situation for the judicial magistrate to assume the time limit within which the present case was filed before the court as there was a delay in filing of the charge sheet – making it harder for the court to judging the whole state of events based on whether on merits for further remanding appellant to the custody.

Perhaps the situation could be curved if the public prosecutor could have reported to the court about delaying while submitting of the report, closely reaching the deadline for completion of the investigation by the police officials, mere curable irregularity in the submission of the charge sheet by the police officials not competent in delivering reports to JM. It would have been an ideal situation if all the substantial material documents enclosing the information about the duration within which the investigation was completed.

The Appellant was devoid of safeguards given under the legal laws. The JM would have considered the issues in the present case on merits and not blindly had issued the order of remanding the accused back to custody.

The most eminent issue that revolves around the whole case that whether the HC had the power to extend the period of limitation for investigating the case?
It is observed by the court that “neither the HC has the power to extend the duration for investigating the case nor any provisions in any other law empower the court to extend the period within which the investigation must be completed -not admitting of any such eventuality”.

However, there are certain enactments such as TADA Act,1985, MCOC Act 1999 which clearly allows the extension of the period of investigation which has the competency to affect the operation of sec.167 of CRPC. The hon’ble court further held that it has the power to interrogate the case within two months by the investigation officer.

The court observed by rejecting all the contentions of the PP representing the state that the appellant has the right to be released on bail, showing further willingness to comply with the directions given by the court in the further case whenever called on for hearing.

Ruling Of The Case
The court after considering the contention put forth by both counsels for the respected parties as argumentative and subjected towards the issue arose in the present case. The court is of the opinion that the order passed by the HC is inappropriate by not allowing the benefits possessed by the appellant in the present case and giving prevalence to the substantial material in hand totally negating the right available to the appellant.

Hence, the court after considering the willingness of the appellant to get the benefits of the bail without causing prejudice to the rights of either parties-allow the present bail application-setting aside the impugned order passed by the HC. The application sets to be disposed off.

End-Notes:
  1. (2001) 5 SCC 453
  2. (1994) 4 SCC 602
  3. (1994) 5 SCC 410
  4. (2001) 5 SCC 453
  5. (2017) 15 SCC 67

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