The supreme court while hearing the appeal filed by Gautam navlakha, observed that in the appropriate cases court can order for the house arrest U/S 167 of CRPC, 1973.

Before granting an order for house arrest the court should consider various factors like the health of the accused, age of accused, the background of accused, nature of the crime, need for custody, consequences of house arrest and others.

The bench consisted of UU LALIT and KM JOSEPH hearing this appeal of the case Gautam Navlakha vs National Investigation Agency filed by Gautam navlakha against the rejection of bail application in Bombay high court.

The issue raised in this appeal before the Supreme Court is “whether the period of house arrest is counted as custody under section 167 of CRPC or not ?”

The court discussed the overcrowding of prisons and the budget of nearly 6000 crores spent on the prisons. This pandemic situation, it’s against the rights of persons to live in such crowded prisons.

The court observed that the custody under section 167 of CRPC is construed as judicial custody or police custody. the days in House arrest is not considered as period in custody under section 167 so the statutory bail is not available to the activist Gautam Navlakha in the Bhima Koregaon case.

During the period of house arrest the investigation agency is not granted access for examination of Gautam navlakha, so how can we equate house arrest as custody.

However,  counting the period of 90 days under section 167 for granting bail is not from the time of arrest while from the first time the accused remanded to the custody of police or judicial custody.

Appeal dismissed and the decision of Bombay High court is upheld by the Supreme court.

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