The Rights Of The Accused
The highest court’s ruling requesting that its Ritu Chhabaria case verdict be recalled would violate key elements of criminal procedure.
Points to Ponder:
Right, to default bail:
- Accused people have the option to be released if the investigating party doesn’t finish the investigation within a certain amount of time thanks to the right to default bail.
- As a result of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees the right to life and personal liberty, it is regarded as an unassailable right.
- Default bail is unconnected to the merits of the case and protects the accused from being held for an extended period of time.
Abuse of extended custody:
- Due to misuse of the prior rule, which allowed for a maximum of 15 days in prison, the Law Commission suggested extending the time.
- Investigating authorities frequently abused other trial-related provisions to imprison suspects for an extended period of time.
- To combat these tactics and stop prolonged incarceration without concluding the investigation, statutory bail was instituted.
Whittling away of protections:
- By submitting incomplete or supplemental charge sheets within the allotted period, the investigating authorities were able to get around the right to default bail.
- This made it impossible for suspects to request default bail and weakened the intended protections.
- Charge sheets may occasionally be filed outside the deadline but before the accused can submit a default bail application.
Ritu Chhabaria judgment:
- According to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Ritu Chhabaria v. Union of India, insufficient charge sheets do not prevent suspects from requesting default bail.
- The ruling cited earlier decisions that had established the constitutional underpinnings of this right and confirmed its inviolability.
- It did not add any new roadblocks to the inquiry process and attempted to emphasise the importance of the accused’s right to refuse bail.
Concerns regarding recalling the judgment:
- The Supreme Court’s decision to think about overturning the Ritu Chhabaria ruling raises questions about tying the right to default bail to the challenges that law enforcement faces in their investigations.
- This choice can undermine the accused’s constitutional rights and stray from basic rules of criminal procedure.
- The severity of the issue is further exacerbated by the postponement of decisions regarding default bail for accused people across the nation.