A man accused of offences under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) after 349 kilo gram (kg) ganja was allegedly recovered from him, was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court (Kaleem v. Union of India).
Single-judge Justice Siddharth granted bail to one Kaleem who was in jail since January 18, 2019 for offences under Sections 8, 20, 29 and 60 of the NDPS Act.
The Court while granting bail, placed reliance on the dictum laid down by the Supreme Court in Shiv Shankar Keshari v. Union of India.
“The Apex Court in the case of Union of India vs. Shiv Shankar Keshari, [(2007) 7 SCC 798] has held that the court while considering the application for bail with reference to Section 37 of the Act, is not called upon to record a finding of not guilty. It is for the limited purpose essentially confined to the question of releasing the accused on bail that the court is called upon to see if there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accused is not guilty and records its satisfaction about the existence of such grounds,” the order passed on October 21 said.
The counsel for applicant submitted that he was falsely implicated in the present case due to ulterior motive, on the basis of false and planted recovery of 349.250 kg ganja and there was no public witness of the alleged recovery.
Further, he argued that the mandatory provision of Section 50 of the NDPS Act which lays down conditions under which a search has to be conducted, was not complied with.
He said that at the stage of consideration of bail it cannot be decided whether offer given to the applicant and his consent obtained was voluntary.
These are the questions of fact which can be determined only during trial and not at the present stage. In case of prima facie non-compliance with mandatory provision of Section 50, the accused is entitled to be released on bail within the meaning of Section 37 of NDPS Act, he further submitted
Government Advocate, Akhilesh Kumar Awasthi on the other hand opposed the prayer for bail, contending that the innocence of the applicant cannot be adjudged at pre-trial stage.
Further, he submitted that if the applicant is released on bail, he will again indulge in similar activity and the “reasonable grounds” mentioned in Section 37(1) (b)(ii) of NDPS Act mean something more than prima facie ground.
The Court placed reliance on the apex court’s judgment in the case of Union of India vs. Shiv Shankar Keshari and larger mandate of Article 21 of the constitution of India, to grant bail to the accused.
“The severity of punishment which conviction will entail, the character of the accused-applicant, circumstances which are peculiar to the accused, reasonable possibility of securing the presence of the accused at the trial, reasonable apprehension of the witnesses being tampered with, the larger interest of the public/State and other circumstances, but without expressing any opinion on the merits, I am of the view that it is a fit case for grant of bail,” the Court said.
The same Bench had, on October 22, granted bail to another man accused of possessing 21 kg charas.
Read order here: