Extension of time for investigation under NDPS Act not to be allowed if progress of investigation is not disclosed

The Hon’ble High court of Bombay in Nayantara Gupta Vs. State of Maharashtra (R), an application questioning the legality of the order passed by N.D.P.S Special Judge, Pune which granted extension of time to conduct investigation under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1958 (NDPS), held that such application for extension of time to complete the investigation is not maintainable if the same is not in conformity with proviso to S. 36A (4) of the NDPS Act.

As per S. 36A (4) it is on the discretion of the court to extend the time for investigation up to further 180 days based on the report of the public prosecutor which should indicate the “progress of the investigation”. The Hon’ble Court while placing reliance on the case of S Kasvi Vs. State (Criminal Appeal No.453 of 2020) observed that the extension of time for investigation leads to curtailment of personal liberty and the same cannot be ordered in a mechanical manner but with “due application of mind and on being satisfied about the progress of the investigation and the reasons for detention as spelt out in the report of the prosecutor justifying such extension”.

The Hon’ble Court while setting aside the orders passed by N.D.P.S Special Judge, Pune and granting bail to the accused expounded that “with the grant of bail, liberty of the applicant-accused stands protected but with casual approach of the investigating officer and the public prosecutor in discharging their statutory duties, the societal interest stands dented”.

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