Himachal Pradesh High Court grants bail to 20 year old man accused under NDPS Act

The Himachal Pradesh High Court has granted bail to a 20-year-old man who had been under judicial custody for offences under Section 21 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985 (NDPS Act).

A single-judge bench of Justice Ajay Mohan Goel enlarged the petitioner on bail while taking into consideration the totality of the circumstances involved in this case, including the fact of the petitioner being a 20 year old and without a previous criminal history. "This Court is of the considered view that as the investigation is complete and the petitioner is in judicial custody, no purpose is going to be served by keeping him further in judicial custody," Justice Goel said.

The Court observed, “It is not in dispute that the contraband recovered from the conscious possession of the petitioner is of intermediate quantity and further what is weighing with the Court is the tender age of the petitioner. Whether or not the petitioner is guilty of the offence alleged against him is a matter of trial. If ultimately, he is convicted for the commission of the offence allegedly committed by him, then, but obvious, he will face the consequences.”

The bench remarked, “However, as he is just 20 years old and has been allegedly apprehended with intermediate quantity of chitta and has no previous criminal history of having committed an offence under the NDPS Act, therefore, in these peculiar circumstances, this petition is allowed by ordering the release of the petitioner on him furnishing personal bail bond to the tune of Rs 50,000 with one surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the learned trial Court, within a period of two weeks, subject to the following conditions:-

· Petitioner shall attend the trial court on each and everydate of hearing and if prevented by any reason to do so, seek exemption from appearance by filing appropriate application;

· He shall not tamper with the prosecution evidence nor hamper the investigation of the case in any manner whatsoever.

· He shall not make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him/her from disclosing such facts to the Court or the Police Officer; and

· He shall not leave the territory of this Country.

Tara Singh Chauhan, counsel for the petitioner argued that the applicant, who is a 20-year-old man, is innocent and has been falsely implicated in the case. He has further argued that now as the investigation is complete and no recovery etc. remains to be effected at the instance of the petitioner, therefore also, taking into consideration the fact that the recovery of the chitta allegedly made from the petitioner is of intermediate quantity, the petitioner be released on bail as no purpose is going to be served by detaining him further in custody.

The counsel stated further, “He has also submitted that there is no previous history of the petitioner being involved in any such offence, and therefore also, the Court may sympathetically consider the prayer of the petitioner for release on bail especially keeping in view his tender age.”

The State opposed the petition on the ground that 19.5 grams of chitta was recovered from the conscious possession of the petitioner and the mode and manner in which the recovery was effected, as is evident from the status report, also demonstrates that the petitioner is involved in the illicit business of sale of drugs.

“Taking into consideration the gravity of the offence, the present petitioner does not deserve to be released on bail. Accordingly, a prayer has been made for dismissal of the petition,” the counsel on behalf of the state argued further.

The case of the prosecution is that on August 19 2021, a police party was on duty near Hira Nagar, keeping an eye on the movement of vehicles in view of an impending VIP visit to the town. During the course of checking of vehicles, one bus, which was on its way from Hamirpur to Reckong Peo via Shimla, was stopped. The petitioner was found sitting in the bus holding an orange coloured zipper in his arms. When the police party asked from him as to what was the purpose of his visit, the petitioner got perplexed and he could not give any satisfactory answer. On that, the police party suspected that there may be some suspicious article with the petitioner. This led to his search, which resulted in the recovery of 19.52 grams of chitta from him. The petitioner was thereafter arrested by following the codal formalities and he is stated to be in custody since then.