HP HC | Freedom of an individual is of utmost importance and cannot be curtailed for indefinite period; Bail granted under NDPS Act

Himachal Pradesh High Court: Sandeep Sharma, J. contemplated a bail application filed under Section 439 of CrPC where the applicant was charged under Sections 21, 61 and 85 of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

The facts of the case are that the petitioner was on his motorcycle when he was asked to stop by the authorities and was searched. The petitioner who alleged to be a chemist was found with prohibited drug in huge quantity. The police prepared a recovery memo in front of an independent witness. It was the story of the police that the petitioner failed to produce any permit of license of the prohibited drug. The petitioner was arrested soon after and since then he was in custody.

Additional Advocate General of the State, Sumesh Raj, submitted that the petitioner had not disclosed the source from where he received the illegal drugs he further strenuously argued that keeping in view the gravity of the offence alleged to be committed by the bail petitioner, he did not deserve any leniency, rather needed to be dealt with severely.

On the contrary the counsel for the petitioner K.S. Banyal, contended that the drug named ‘lomotil’ which was allegedly recovered from the petitioner was outside the purview of the definition of manufactured drugs as defined under Section 2(xi) of the Act. On the scientific grounds he argued that the preparations of Diphenoxylate calculated as base, and a quantity of Atropine sulphate equivalent to at least one percent of the dose of Diphenoxylate did not fall under the definition of manufactured drugs, as notified by the Government. He further contended that as far as Tramadol the other drug was concerned, the same was of intermediate quantity and as such, rigour of Section 37 was not attracted in the present case. He further contended that for the last four months bail petitioner was behind the bars and there was none at his home to take care of his widow mother.

The Court held that though the offences were of serious nature but considering the age of the petitioner who is very young and his family background and financial background, Court found no reason to let him incarcerate in jail. It was further held that, “Tramadol allegedly recovered from the bail petitioner is also of intermediate quantity, rigor of Section 37 are not attracted in the present case and as such, freedom of bail petitioner whose guilt, if any, is otherwise yet to be ascertained/determined by the Court of law on the basis of cogent and convincing evidence, if any, led on record by the Investigating Agency, cannot be allowed to curtail for indefinite period, during trial.” Hence, bail was granted to the petitioner on certain conditions. [Ankit Kumar v. State of H.P., 2019 SCC OnLine HP 1498, decided on 11-09-2019]

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