To declare Section 37(1)(b)(ii) of NDPS Act ultra vires constitution not in scope of petition under Section 439 CrPC; bail granted under the same

Punjab and Haryana High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Rajbir Sehrawat, J., dealt with an application under Section 439 of CrPC.

The accused was alleged with carrying psychotropic substance with him and FIR was registered against him under Section 22 of NDPS Act, 1985. After being examined by the Chemical Examiner the substance was found to be Alprazolam after which he was kept in custody. Petitioner contended that he had been falsely implicated and denied the presence of any substance with him. His bail application by virtue of Section 37 of NDPS was rejected by Special Judge. Hence, application under Section 439 was filed before this Court.

Petitioner was in custody for one year four months and sixteen days before filing of this petition. Section 37(1)(b)(ii) contains conditions which should be satisfied by Court before granting bail.  According to this section Court requires to prima facie come to satisfaction that the accused is not guilty of the offence alleged against him. This section seems contrary to the principle of presumption of innocence in favour of the accused until proved otherwise. The second part of the section seems humanly impossible as the Court is required to record a satisfaction that the accused would, likely, commit the offence after coming out of the custody, or would not commit any offence after coming out of the custody.

Thus, Court observed that though this part of the Section seems unconstitutional, Court does not have the domain in this petition to deal with this issue. But observed that it had to comply with conditions of Section 37(1)(b)(ii) before granting bail, therefore, Court dealt with the issue of Whether the procedure being insisted by the State; for its plea of denying the bail to petitioner; is non-discriminatory, rational, reasonable and fair procedure or not. Court was of the view that State erred in the same and after considering the conditions of Section 37(1)(b)(ii) being fulfilled, bail was granted to the petitioner. [Ankush Kumar v. State of Punjab,2018 SCC OnLine P&H 1259, dated 09-08-2018]

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