In a landmark judgment, the three judges bench of the Supreme Court of India, headed by Justice U.U Lalit along with Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Bela M Trivedi on 08.09.2021 while hearing an appeal filed by the Four Accused against the denial of Bail in Bhopal in March 2014, lays down an important preposition of Law, holding that a Judicial Magistrate is not competent to extend the time period provided for filing of charge sheet in any case registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967. The bench further said that only a special court formed under the UAPA will have the authority to deal with such issues of extending the time for filing charge sheets. Also, the order from the Apex Court restricts the power of the Magistrate from extending the remand time of an accused in similar UAPA cases.

The accused herein wanted default bail on the ground that the police failed to conclude the investigation and was not able to submit the charge sheet within 90 days, but the same was denied on the ground that the magistrate has extended the time for filing of Chargesheet from 90 days to 180 days

The bench stated that a magistrate shall not have any jurisdiction/ power to extend the time for filing of charge sheet in any matter wherein investigation has to be completed under the UAPA. Only the courts formed under UAPA are authorized to exercise such power of extension.

It is further stated that the court that will be formed under this UAPA has to be rendered as Special Court, or Session Court in the absence of Special Courts. These courts shall not include Magistrate as its part as mentioned under Section 167 of CrPC. Special courts, or in its absence the session courts formed under UAPA will have the authority and shall only be competent to consider any such extension request under UAPA.

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