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Supreme Court defers all default bail pleas based on Ritu Chhabria verdict to May 12

The Supreme Court has directed all courts across the country to defer applications seeking default bail on the basis of Ritu Chhabria judgment till May 12.

The Apex Court had earlier agreed to constitute a three-judge Bench on May 4 to consider the petition filed by the Union of India, application seeking recall of the Ritu Chhabria verdict.

However the matter could not be heard on Thursday, leading to the Bench of Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice P.S. Narasimha and Justice J.B. Pardiwala extending the interim order till the next date of hearing, which is May 12.

Appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended that the Central agencies were facing difficulties due to the said judgment.

As per the SG, the Chhabria verdict laid down an absolute proposition that if the charge sheet has been filed without completing the investigation, then the accused would be entitled to default bail.

He quoted various judgements of larger benches of the Supreme Court, which had unequivocally stated that it was the duty of an investigative agency to file a charge sheet within 90 days or 60 days as the case maybe.

The SG said that not all investigations could be finished in 60 or 90 days.

The agencies had the right to seek further investigation under Section 173(8) CrPC after the charge sheet was filed, he pointed out.

SG Mehta contended that several applications seeking default bail on the basis of this verdict were pending across various courts of the country.

He urged the Apex Court to pronounce that for the time being, the judgment may not be relied upon.

The CJI-led Bench, while refusing to pass such an order, directed the courts across the country to defer default bail applications based on this verdict.

The Bench of Justice Krishna Murari and Justice C.T. Ravikumar had ruled in the Ritu Chhabria vs Union of India case that an incomplete charge sheet filed by an investigating agency without completing the investigation will not defeat the right of the accused for default bail.

(Case title: Directorate of Enforcement vs Manpreet Singh Talwar)

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