Rakesh Kumar Paul vs State of Assam

In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court of India recently pronounced its decision in the case of Rakesh Kumar Paul vs State of Assam, addressing the issue of entitlement to default bail under certain circumstances. The case revolved around whether an accused is entitled to default bail under Section 167(2)(a)(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) if the police fail to defile the charge-sheet within 60 days of arrest for offences punishable with imprisonment up to 10 years.


Rakesh Kumar Paul, the former Chairman of the Assam Public Service Commission, was charged under Sections 7 and 13(1)(b)(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The charges against him carried a punishment of imprisonment for a term ranging from four to ten years.

The dispute arose when Paul sought default bail under Section 167(2)(a)(2) of the CrPC, arguing that the investigating agency had failed to file the charge-sheet within 60 days of his arrest. The High Court of Assam initially denied him bail, a decision which was challenged before the Supreme Court.

Dissenting Opinion

Justice PC Pant dissented from the majority opinion. He observed that the intention of the legislature was to allow an extended period of 90 days for investigation in cases where the punishment may extend to ten years or more. Justice Pant’s opinion focused on the legislative intent behind the provision, arguing that the permissible period for investigation should be extended to 90 days in such cases.

Madan B. LokurDeepak GuptaPrafulla C. Pant J.
The Bail is the indefeasible right of a person and petitioner shall be released within period of 60 days in case the charge sheet is not filled.The indefeasible right could not be defeated by filling the charge-sheet after the accused has offered to furnish bail.For an offence wherein the punishment may extend to 10 years imprisonment, the accused is only entitled to bail on default after the period of 90 days.
The petitioner had satisfied all the requirements of obtaining ‘default bail’.Even, though the period had expired, the Accused would be deemed to be in legal custody till he does not furnish the bail.
The requirement was to furnish the bail.
The allegation did not disclose merely and economic offence but it shows a transgression of the constitutional rights of the victim of the crime. It was not fit case of grant of bail at this stage even on merits.
If the minimum period is laid down, the sentencing judge has no option but to give a sentence “not less than” that provided for. Therefore, the words “not less than” occurring   in Clause (i) to proviso (a) of Section 167(2) of the Cr.P.C. (and in other provisions) must be given their natural and obvious meaning which is to say, not below a minimum threshold and in the case of Section 167 of the Cr.P.C. these words must relate to an offence punishable with a minimum of 10 years imprisonment.In all cases where the minimum is less than 10 years but the maximum the sentence is not death or life imprisonment, the section:167 (2) (a) (ii) will apply.The intention of the legislature was that if an offence was punishable with imprisonment upto 10 years, then it falls within the provision of Section-167 (2) (a) (i).
In the matter of personal liability, the court should not be too technical and must lean in favor of personal liberty. In the matters of personal liberty and Article 21 of the Constitution, it is not advisable to be formalistic and technical.The Accused does not have to make out any ground for grant of bail. He does not have to fill a detailed application. All he has to aver in the application is that since 60 days have expired and charge-sheet has not be filled, he is entitled to bail.The requirement for application claiming the statutory right under section 167(2) of the code is a prerequisite for the bail on default. Such application has to be made before the magistrate for enforcement of statutory right.
The default bail shall be granted.The Bail shall be granted, if bail is furnished.It is the matter related to Constitutional fraud and not only related to economy fraud. The Accused shall remain in custody till 90 days.

Issues Addressed

The main issue addressed by the Supreme Court was the interpretation of Section 167(2)(a)(2) of the CrPC, specifically whether an accused charged with offences punishable with up to 10 years’ imprisonment is entitled to default bail after 60 days of custody if the charge-sheet is not filed by the investigating agency.

The Court’s decision clarified that the right to default bail is a statutory right available to an accused person if the conditions specified under the CrPC are met. It underscored the importance of adherence to procedural safeguards and timelines by law enforcement agencies.

Supreme Court’s Decision

A Bench comprising Justices Madan Lokur, Prafulla C Pant, and Deepak Gupta heard the appeal. The Supreme Court considered the provisions of Section 167(2)(a)(2) of the CrPC, which provides that an accused person shall be released on bail if the charge-sheet is not filed within 60 days of arrest in cases where the punishment for the offence is up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Justice Lokur and Justice Gupta allowed the appeal and directed Rakesh Kumar Paul’s release on bail, stating that he had satisfied all the requirements for obtaining default bail. They emphasized that the provisions of the CrPC should be interpreted in a manner that upholds the rights of the accused, particularly in cases where the investigating agency fails to comply with statutory timelines.


The Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Rakesh Kumar Paul vs State of Assam has reaffirmed the rights of the accused under the CrPC, particularly in cases where there is a failure on the part of the investigating agency to file a charge-sheet within the prescribed timeframe. The ruling emphasizes the need for strict adherence to procedural requirements and timelines by law enforcement agencies to protect the rights of the accused.

This case is likely to have significant implications for future cases involving similar issues, as it provides clarity on the interpretation of the law regarding default bail for offences punishable with imprisonment up to 10 years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This field is required.

This field is required.


The following disclaimer governs the use of this website (“Website”) and the services provided by the Law offices of Kr. Vivek Tanwar Advocate & Associates in accordance with the laws of India. By accessing or using this Website, you acknowledge and agree to the terms and conditions stated in this disclaimer.

The information provided on this Website is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice or relied upon as such. The content of this Website is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between you and the Law Firm. Any reliance on the information provided on this Website is done at your own risk.

The Law Firm makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or suitability of the information contained on this Website.

The Law Firm disclaims all liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this Website or for any actions taken in reliance on the information provided herein. The information contained in this website, should not be construed as an act of solicitation of work or advertisement in any manner.