A appeal by an accused in the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh seeking default bail and contesting a Special Court’s ruling was dismissed by the High Court of Karnataka.
Hrishikesh Devdikar, accused No. 18 in the case, was detained by authorities in January 2020. Later, he submitted an application to the Special Court for statutory/default bail in accordance with Section 167(2) of the CrPC.
However, The court did not, take his application into account. So, he went to the High Court. The accused’s principal defence was that a charge sheet had to be filed within 90 days after his detention because it was a murder case. However, as of April 4, 2020, no charge sheet has been filed against him; as a result, he should automatically be granted bail under subsection (2) of section 167 of the CrPC.
While Special Public Prosecutor Ashok N. Naik represented the state, Kiran B.S. appeared on behalf of the accused. The public prosecutor contended that Devdikar was evading capture and that a charge sheet had been prepared without him.
Justice Suraj Govindaraj denied the appeal on October 21,2022, claiming that the charge sheet had already been submitted before the accused was taken into custody. Therefore, he is not eligible to use Section 167 of the CrPc’s subsection (2). In the event of accusations, an accused would not be eligible for the benefit under subsection (2) of Section 167 of the CrPC.
“An accused would not be entitled to the benefit under Subsection (2) of Section 167 of CrPC, in the event of charges sheet having already been filed before his arrest,” the Court held.