Orissa High Court: In a bail application filed under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, for grant of bail to the applicant/accused who was accused of offence punishable under Section 20(b)(ii)(C) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (‘NDPS Act’), the Single Judge Bench of S.K. Sahoo, J., the Court noted that in spite of sufficient opportunity given to the State to verify the address of the accused, the same was not complied with, thus, the Court had warned to initiate Contempt of Court proceedings against the erring officials.
In the matter at hand, the accused was seeking bail in connection with a case pending against him before the 3rd Additional Sessions Judge, Berhampur, Ganjam for an offence punishable under Section 20(b)(ii)(C) of the NDPS Act. In the previous hearing of the matter, the State had sought time to verify whether the address furnished by the accused in the bail application was authentic or not, as the accused is said to be a native of district Hathras in the State of Uttar Pradesh. Thus, the Court had directed the Superintendent of Police, Ganjam to make necessary communication to the Superintendent of Police, Hathras, Uttar Pradesh and submit a report before the Court. Subsequently, the Court was informed that even though correspondence was made by the Superintendent of Police, Ganjam with the Superintendent of Police, Hathras, but no response was received from the other side.
Since it was an excise matter, the order was modified permitting the Superintendent of Excise, Berhampur to file an affidavit. An affidavit was ultimately filed by the Superintendent of Excise, Berhampur dated 23-06-2023, stating that in spite of repeated communications made to the Superintendent of Police, Hathras to verify the address of the accused, no report was received.
The Court said that it was apparent that in spite of sufficient opportunity given to the State to verify the address of the accused, the same was not complied with. The Court stated that “it is indeed a very sorry state of affairs. The Constitution of India embodies a federal structure of Government which essentially requires a strong sense of cooperation among not only the Government of the Centre and the States but also the provincial Governments inter se.” Thus, the Court said that such issues are required to be sorted out at the Government level so that appropriate instructions can be issued to the responsible authorities well within the time.
The Court also added that otherwise, the Court would not be left with any other better option but to pass stringent orders against the erring officials and may also initiate the proceedings under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. In a similar type of case, the Secretary to the Government of Odisha had appeared in person and assured this Court to look into the matter and find the necessary solutions. The Court had directed the Chief Secretary, Government of Odisha to take prompt action on the matter at the Government level.
The matter was further listed for a hearing on 24-07-2023.
[Krishna Kumar v. State of Odisha, 2023 SCC OnLine Ori 4162, Order dated: 10-07-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For the petitioner: Advocate S.R. Mohapatra;
For the respondent: Additional Standing Counsel P.B. Tripathy.