Sunday, June 4, 2023

Allahabad High Court grants bail to man held with 21.3 kg charas

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The Allahabad High Court has granted bail to a man accused of offences under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act). It is alleged that 21.3 kg charas in 42 packets was recovered from the applicant.

A single-judge bench of Justice Siddharth noted, “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. But the court has not to consider the matter as if it is pronouncing a judgment of acquittal and recording a finding of not guilty.”

“The reasonable grounds mentioned in Section 37(1)(b)(ii) of N.D.P.S Act mean something more than prima facie grounds. It implies substantial probable causes for believing that the accused is not guilty of the offence charged and points to the existence of such facts and circumstances which are sufficient to hold that the accused is not guilty,” the bench observed further.

Counsel for the applicant submitted, “Police took 100 gms of Charas only from one packet for sampling which is against the settled rules of the sampling under N.D.P.S. Act. There is no compliance of standing Order dated March 15, 1988.”

“There is no compliance of Section 50 and 57 of the N.D.P.S. Act. At the stage of consideration of bail, it cannot be decided whether the 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 stage,” the counsel submitted further.

Counsel said the applicant has a criminal history of six cases explained in the affidavit filed in support of the bail application in which he is on bail in all the cases. He has been in jail since February 23, 2021 and he undertakes that he will not misuse liberty, if granted.

Additional Government Advocate has opposed the prayer for bail by contending that the innocence of the applicant cannot be adjudged at pre-trial stage who is involved in supplying contraband, therefore, the applicant does not deserve any indulgence.

“Considering the facts of the case and keeping in mind the arguments advanced on behalf of the parties, the ratio of the Apex Court’s judgment in the case of Union of India vs. Shiv Shankar Keshari, (2007) 7 SCC 798, larger mandate of Article 21 of the constitution of India, the nature of accusations, the nature of evidence in support thereof, 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 bench noted.

The bail application has been filed on behalf of the applicant, Lal Babu, with a prayer to release him on bail in Case under Sections- 8/20 of N.D.P.S. Act, Police Station Dargah Shareef, District- Bahraich, during pendency of trial.

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