[Answered] Discuss the significance of the Ritu Chhabaria case in the context of the right to default bail and the practices of investigating authorities.

Introduction: State the main findings of the judgment.

Body: Why is this case significant?

Conclusion: Way forward.

Recently, a Division Bench of the Supreme Court, in Ritu Chhabria v. Union of India gave its decision on bail-related matters. It upheld the right of an undertrial to be released on default bail if the investigation is not complete and the case goes on over the statutory deadline. It was decided that notwithstanding the filing of a preliminary charge sheet, the right to be released on bail will still exist. It concluded that an accused person’s ability to request default bail would end only after the investigation was finished within the statutory time frame.

Why is Ritu Chhabaria’s case significant?

  • Checks and Balances: The judgment assumes importance as it places certain checks and balances upon the investigative agencies to prevent the harassment of accused persons.
  • Accountability: The judgment also fixes the accountability of the investigative agencies to speed up the investigative process within a given time frame. The court decision emphasizes the importance of a timely and efficient investigation to ensure that justice is delivered to both victims as well as accused.
  • Safeguarding the rights of undertrials: The judgment recognizes the right of an undertrial to be released on bail if the investigation is not completed within a statutory time frame. The court upheld that default bail is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution, and it cannot be defeated by filing incomplete or supplementary charge sheets after the expiry of the statutory period.
  • Delegitimized illegal practices: The judgment serves as a reminder to investigative agencies to not pursue illegitimate practices of filing incomplete or supplementary charge sheets within 60/90 days, to prevent the accused from seeking default bail.
  • Rule of Law: The judgment enforces the principle of the rule of law where everyone is equal before the law and no one is above the law. It also gives confidence to the common citizen that their fundamental rights are protected by the judiciary.


The judgment should serve as a reminder to the investigative agencies that they are constitutionally bound by their duty to file a chargesheet in 60 or 90 days as the case may be & without completing the investigation of a case, a chargesheet or prosecution complaint cannot be filed by an investigating agency only to deprive an arrested accused of his right to default bail under Section 167(2) of the CrPC.

Print Friendly and PDF