Mumbai: Prosecutor not post office of the investigating agency, says Bombay HC

Justice Bharati Dangre made the observation recently while hearing a “default bail” plea filed by one Shlok Todankar on the ground that the prosecution had failed to file a charge sheet within the stipulated 180 days.

Staff ReporterUpdated: Wednesday, September 14, 2022, 09:55 PM IST
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Bombay HC | Photo: Representative Image

While granting bail in a Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) case, the Bombay High Court observed that a prosecutor is not a "post office" of the investigating agency and should form an independent opinion before seeking an extension of time to submit a charge sheet.

Justice Bharati Dangre made the observation recently while hearing a “default bail” plea filed by one Shlok Todankar on the ground that the prosecution had failed to file a charge sheet within the stipulated 180 days.

Referring to the provision of the NDPS Act, the HC said that the special court may extend the 180-day period for filing of charge sheet if the prosecutor submits a report on the progress of the investigation and gives a reason for the detention of the accused beyond the 180-day period.

“In the present case, it can be seen that the public prosecutor never submitted the report but the investigating officer directly preferred an application before the court,” noted Justice Dangre.

She further said that the legislature intentionally contemplated submission of the report by the public prosecutor and on purpose did not leave it to an investigating officer to make the application for seeking an extension of time.

“It has been time and again reiterated that the public prosecutor is neither the post office of the investigating agency nor he or she is a forwarding agency,” said the court while adding that the prosecutor should apply mind and submit a report on whether there are any reasons to detain the accused further.

The court further added: “An important duty is cast on the public prosecutor to prepare his or her independent report to assist the court to decide whether the time period of the custody of the accused needs to be extended.”

The Anti-Narcotics Cell arrested Todankar in April 2021 and allegedly recovered 17 LCD papers and 1.10 kg of ganja from him.

In the present case, the charge sheet should have been filed by October 2021 (within 180 days), but in September 2021, an assistant police inspector of ANC forwarded an application to the magistrate's court seeking an extension of 60 days.

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