Public Prosecutor Is Not A "Post Office" Of Probe Agency, Says High Court

Justice Bharati Dangre passed the order on September 6 on a plea filed by Shlok Todankar who had sought 'default' bail on the ground that the prosecution had failed to file charge sheet in a drugs case within the stipulated 180 days.

Public Prosecutor Is Not A 'Post Office' Of Probe Agency, Says High Court

A copy of the judgement became available on Tuesday.

New Delhi:

A prosecutor is not a "post office" of the investigating agency and should form independent opinion before seeking extension of time to submit a charge sheet, the Bombay High Court has said while granting bail in a drugs case.

Justice Bharati Dangre passed the order on September 6 on a plea filed by Shlok Todankar who had sought 'default' bail on the ground that the prosecution had failed to file charge sheet within the stipulated 180 days.

A copy of the judgement became available on Tuesday.

The high court referred to the provision of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act that a 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," Justice Dangre said.

"The legislature intentionally contemplated submission of the report by the public prosecutor (while enacting the NDPS Act)...The legislature purposely did not leave it to an investigating officer to make the application for seeking extension of time," the order said.

"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," Justice Dangre added.

The prosecutor should apply mind and submit a report on whether there are any reasons to detain the accused further, she said.

"An important duty is cast on the public prosecutor to prepare his or her own independent report to assist the court to decide whether the time period of the custody of the accused needs to be extended," the HC said.

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

As per the Code of Criminal Procedure, a 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.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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