Bail in NDPS Cases in India: Understanding the Legal Landscape
Under the NDPS Act getting bail is not an easy thing, whereas, under ordinary criminal cases, bail is the rule and jail is the exception. However, under the NDPS Act, it is reversed. Section 37 of the Act imposes strict requirements for the grant of bail to the accused person.
The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act is one of the most robust laws in India aimed at combating drug-related offenses with the help of the Best NDPS Lawyer in Mumbai. The Act has strict provisions and penalties to deter drug trafficking and abuse. One critical aspect of the NDPS Act is the grant of bail to accused individuals during legal proceedings. In this blog, we will delve into the concept of bail in NDPS cases in India, the criteria considered for granting bail, and some landmark judgments that have shaped the approach towards bail under this Act.
Understanding Bail under the NDPS Act:
The NDPS Act classifies the offences committed under it as cognizable offences, meaning the accused can be arrested without a warrant. Bail refers to the release of an accused person from custody during the pendency of a trial. In NDPS cases, obtaining bail can be a complex process due to the gravity of drug-related offenses. However, it is essential to recognize that the right to personal liberty is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution of India. Therefore, bail should not be denied arbitrarily; one can file an application with the help of the best Lawyer for NDPS Drug cases and it must be granted based on the circumstances and merits of each case.
The relevant provision of the NDPS Act
As a result, these offences are deemed to be serious and of grave nature. Here are some of the relevant provisions of the Act:
Section 37 stipulates that persons accused of offences u/s 19 (embezzlement of opium by cultivator)
Section 24 (external dealings of narcotics drugs and psychotropic substances)
Section 27A (financing of illicit drug traffic and harboring offenders) along with offences that involve commercial quantities shall be released on bail, only on two conditions:
1.Where the public prosecutor has got the opportunity to oppose the application for release and
2.The court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the accused is not guilty of the aforementioned offences and that he is not likely to commit such offences while on bail.
Criteria Considered for Granting Bail:
The courts consider several factors before deciding whether to grant bail in NDPS cases. Some of the key criteria include:
1.Nature and Quantity of Drugs: The courts assess the seriousness of the offense and the quantity of drugs involved. In cases involving small quantities of drugs for personal consumption, bail may be more likely to be granted. You can find out the Top lawyer for NDPS cases in India.
2.Role of the Accused: The court examines the role of the accused in the alleged offense. If there is no substantial evidence linking the accused to drug trafficking or manufacturing, bail may be considered.
3.Antecedents and Criminal History: The past criminal record of the accused is also taken into account. A history of previous drug-related offenses or criminal activities may adversely impact the bail decision. One of the Best NDPS Lawyer in Mumbai can help you get the justice.
4.Possibility of Tampering with Evidence or Influencing Witnesses: The court evaluates whether releasing the accused on bail might hinder the investigation or pose a risk of tampering with evidence or influencing witnesses. One of the Top NDPS Lawyer in Mumbai can be good choice
Relationship between NDPS Act and Sec. 437 of CrPC
1.Narcotic Control Bureau v. Kishan Lal, AIR 558 1991 SCR (1) – It was held by the Court that if there is an inconsistency with Section 37 of NDPS Act and Sec. 437 of Cr. P. C. then the provisions of NDPS Act will prevail.
2.Union of India v. Niyazuddin & Anr. (2018) 13 SCC 738 – The Apex Court in the case stated that the court must first satisfy twin conditions stipulated u/s 37 of the NDPS Act along with the parameters provided under the CrPC and other legislations. It further clarified that the overlap between the provisions of the NDPS Act and the CrPC (i.e. Section 37 and Section 437) then the former must prevail.
3.Union of India v. Thamisharasi & Ors., JT 1995 (4) SC 253 – The Apex Court in the case stated, “The limitation on the power to release on bail in Section 437 Cr. P.C. is like a restriction on that power, if reasonable grounds exist for the belief that the accused is guilty. On the other hand, the limitation on this power in Section 37 of the N.D.P.S. An act is like a condition precedent for the exercise of that power, so that, the accused shall not be released on bail unless the Court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that he is not guilty. Under Section 437 Cr. P.C., it is for the prosecution to show the existence of reasonable grounds to support the belief in the guilt of the accused to attract the restriction on the power to grant bail; but under Section 37 N.D.P.S. Act, it is the accused who must show the existence of grounds for the belief that he is not guilty, to satisfy the condition precedent and lift the embargo on the power to grant bail.”
Reasonable grounds as per Provision of NDPS Act
1.State of Kerala v. Rajesh (2020): In Criminal Appeal No(s). 154157 of 2020, it was held by the Apex Court that the concept “Reasonable Grounds” contemplates substantial probable cause reasons to believe that the accused will not be guilty of any offence under the Act. In this case, it was clarified that the Facts of the case should be clear for removing any difficulty concerning the accused committed the offence.
2.Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai v. Kamla Mills Ltd. (2003) 6 SCC 315: The Court held that the expression ‘reasonable ground’ means “by reason”. It shall be decided based on the facts of the case whether the accused person’s act was reasonable or not. The Courts must judiciously pronounce the judgment after due consideration of the facts.
Landmark Judgments on Bail in NDPS Cases
Over the years, the Supreme Court of India has delivered significant judgments regarding bail in NDPS cases. Some notable cases include:
1.Union of India v. Mohd. Yusuf (2011): The court emphasized that bail should not be denied mechanically and must be considered based on individual merits.
2.State of Punjab v. Balbir Singh (2017): The court highlighted that bail should be granted in cases where there is no prima facie evidence of direct involvement in drug trafficking.
3.P. Chidambaram v. Directorate of Enforcement (2020): The court reiterated that bail should not be denied solely based on the gravity of the offense.
Confession under the NDPS Act
In the case of Tofan Singh v. State of Tamil Nadu, (2013) 16 SCC 31 – Justices Nariman and Navin Sinha of the Supreme Court held that the statements/ confessions made under the NDPS Act cannot be used as confessional statements. It clarified that “held as the basis to convict a person would be “a direct infringement” of constitutional guarantees”.
Bail in NDPS cases in India is a subject of great importance and legal scrutiny. While the NDPS Act aims to combat drug-related crimes effectively, it is essential to balance the enforcement of the law with safeguarding the fundamental right to personal liberty. The courts play a crucial role in ensuring a fair and just approach to granting bail in these cases. Each case is unique and must be assessed independently, taking into account the specific circumstances and evidence presented. Reach us if you are looking for the Best NDPS bail Lawyer in Mumbai you can call / whatsapp us on +91 – 9323232932 or email us at [email protected]