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Default bail under BNSS (Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita)

Default bail, also known as statutory bail, ensures that the rights of accused are protected when police fails to complete the investigation within the specified timeframe. This article will cover the concept of default bail, its legal implications and the advantages and disadvantages associated with this statutory right.


Default Bail: An Overview


1. The Right to Default Bail:


- Accused can avail statutory bail, commonly known as default bail, when police does not conclude the investigation within the stipulated time frame.


- The maximum period for investigations, as outlined in Section 187(3) of the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), is 60 or 90 days, depending on the severity of the offense.


- Accused can seek default bail under the Section 187(3) of the BNSS if the investigation exceeds the prescribed time frame.


2. Legal Foundation:


- Default bail is linked to Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which safeguards the fundamental right to life and personal liberty.


- The relief provided by default bail aims to prevent arbitrary exercise of power by law enforcement agencies, maintaining a balance between police authority and individual rights.


3. Conditions for Default Bail:


- The accused is entitled to default bail once they submit a Section 187(3) bail application.


- This right becomes enforceable only after the allotted investigation window has lapsed.


- It remains applicable whether the accused applies for default bail during the ongoing bail application or after the charge sheet is filed.


Watch JudiX’s 1 minute video lecture on Default bail under Section 187 of BNSS


4. Exceptions to Default Bail:


- Default bail is not applicable if the accused fails to apply for it after the investigation period lapses and the investigating agency files a charge sheet.


- The Magistrate may extend the investigation deadline if requested by the investigating agency.


- The accused, however, may still be released on bail based on other legal provisions of the Sanhita.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Default Bail


Advantages:


- Ensures accused is not held indefinitely without being found guilty, upholding principles of justice and fairness.


- Safeguards against arbitrary detention, providing an opportunity for rehabilitation and reintegration into the community.


- Prevents unlawful detentions and encourages timely filing of charges, contributing to more efficient use of prison resources.


- Enables the court to assess the necessity of further detention based on the prosecution's ability to present evidence within the allotted time.


Disadvantages:


- Poses a potential risk to public safety if the accused is considered dangerous.


- May impede further evidence collection or hinder the prosecution's ability to build a strong case.


- Could interfere with victims' rights to prompt justice and create perceptions of unfair or unequal treatment in the legal process.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Default Bail


Q1: What is default bail?


A1: Default bail, also known as statutory bail, is a legal provision that allows accused individuals to be released from detention if investigating agencies fail to complete their inquiries within the specified time frame.


Q2: Under what legal framework does default bail operate?


A2: Default bail operates under Section 187(3) of the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) and is intricately linked to Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, safeguarding the fundamental right to life and personal liberty.


Q3: When can an accused apply for default bail?


A3: An accused can apply for default bail under Section 187(3) of the BNSS once the investigation period exceeds the maximum duration prescribed by law.


Q4: What is the maximum investigation period for default bail under BNSS?


A4: The maximum investigation period is 60 or 90 days, depending on the severity of the offense, as outlined in Section 187(3) of the BNSS.


Q5: Can an accused apply for default bail during an ongoing bail application or after the charge sheet is filed?


A5: Yes, an accused can apply for default bail during an ongoing bail application or even after the charge sheet is filed, and the right becomes enforceable after the investigation window lapses.


Q6: Are there exceptions to the availability of default bail?


A6: Yes, default bail is not applicable if the accused fails to apply for it after the investigation period lapses, and the investigating agency files a charge sheet. The Magistrate may extend the investigation deadline upon request by the investigating agency.


Q7: What are the advantages of default bail?


A7: Advantages of default bail include preventing indefinite detention without guilt, safeguarding against arbitrary detention, encouraging timely filing of charges, and enabling the court to assess the necessity of further detention based on the prosecution's evidence.


Q8: What risks or disadvantages are associated with default bail?


A8: Disadvantages may include potential risks to public safety if the accused is considered dangerous, challenges in evidence collection, and perceptions of unfair or unequal treatment in the legal process.


Q9: How does default bail contribute to efficient prison resource use?


A9: Default bail prevents unlawful detentions, encouraging timely filing of charges, and contributes to the efficient use of prison resources by releasing individuals not found guilty.


Default bail under BNSS (Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita)


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