Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 – Section 439 – Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 – Section 37 – Offences to be cognizable and non-bailable – Bail.
The organised activities of the underworld and the clandestine smuggling of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances into this country and illegal trafficking in such drugs and substances have led to drug addiction among a sizeable section of the public, particularly the adolescents and students of both sexes and the menace has assumed serious and alarming proportions in the recent years. Therefore, in order to effectively control and eradicate this proliferating and booming devastating menace, causing deleterious effects and deadly impact on the society as a whole, Parliament in its wisdom, has made effective provisions by introducing this Act 81 of 1985 specifying mandatory minimum imprisonment and fine.
To check the menace of dangerous drugs flooding the market, Parliament has provided that the person accused of offences under the NDPS Act should not be released on bail during trial unless the mandatory conditions provided in Section 37, namely,
(i) there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accused is not guilty of such offence; and
(ii) that he is not likely to commit any offence while on bail are satisfied.
The jurisdiction of the Court to grant bail is circumscribed by the provisions of Section 37 of the NDPS Act. It can be granted in case there are reasonable grounds for believing that accused is not guilty of such offence, and that he is not likely to commit any offence while on bail. It is the mandate of the legislature which is required to be followed.
Apex Court has laid down broad parameters to be followed while considering the application for bail moved by the accused involved in offences under NDPS Act.
The scheme of Section 37 reveals that the exercise of power to grant bail is not only subject to the limitations contained under Section 439 of the CrPC, but is also subject to the limitation placed by Section 37 which commences with non-obstante clause. The operative part of the said section is in the negative form prescribing the enlargement of bail to any person accused of commission of an offence under the Act, unless twin conditions are satisfied. The first condition is that the prosecution must be given an opportunity to oppose the application; and the second, is that the Court must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of such offence. If either of these two conditions is not satisfied, the ban for granting bail operates.
The expression “reasonable grounds” means something more than prima facie grounds. It contemplates substantial probable causes for believing that the accused is not guilty of the alleged offence. The reasonable belief contemplated in the provision requires existence of such facts and circumstances as are sufficient in themselves to justify satisfaction that the accused is not guilty of the alleged offence.
Case Law Reference
- State of Kerala v. Rajesh, AIR 2020 SC 721
- Surinder Kumar Khanna v. Intelligence Officer, AIR 2018 SC 3574
- Union of India v. Ram Samujh, (1999) 9 SCC 429
- Durand Didier v. Chief Secy., Union Territory of Goa, (1990) 1 SCC 95