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For granting bail under NDPS Act, the Court must have reasonable grounds to believe that the accused has not committed the offence: High Court of Delhi

The Court under Section 37(b)(ii) of the NDPS Act is not required to be merely satisfied about the dual conditions i.e. prima facie opinion of the innocence of the accused and that the accused will not commit a similar offence while on bail, but the court must have “reasonable grounds” for such satisfaction. The test which the Courts are required to apply while granting bail is whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the accused has not committed an offence and whether he is likely to commit any offence while on bail and the same was upheld by High Court of Delhi through the learned bench led by Justice Chandra Dhari Singh in the case of MAHESH vs. STATE (GOVT OF NCT OF DELHI) [BAIL APPLN. 51/2022] on 08.02.2022.

The facts of the case are that the Narcotics Cell Crime Branch received a secret information that Kamal Kalra who was involved in sale & supply of Ecstasy in Delhi-NCR would come near Goodwill Apartment situated in Rohini, Delhi with his associate Akshay to deliver Ecstasy to someone. The secret information was shared with Inspector/NCB, who verified the facts and conveyed the same to ACP. The ACP ordered to conduct a raid. The secret information was reduced into writing at Narcotics Cell, Crime Branch and the same was forwarded to senior officers in compliance of Section 42 of the NDPS Act.

During investigation, IO/ASI arrested the accused Kamal Kalra who made a disclosure statement therein that he procured the recovered contraband from Mahesh Goel. The present application has been preferred by the accused for seeking a regular bail.

The plaintiff’s counsel submitted that the main accused against whom there is an allegation of being in possession of 42 grams of Ecstasy has already been enlarged on bail. The allegation against the Applicant is that he was found in possession of 20 grams of Ecstasy which is much lesser than the allegation against the main accused and therefore, it was submitted that the Applicant should be released on bail as the case of the Applicant is on a better footing.

The respondent’s counsel opposed the Bail Application and submitted that the contraband recovered from the Applicant was of commercial quantity. It was stated that in case a bail is granted to the applicant, then it is quite likely that he may again get involved in drug trafficking.

In view of the aforementioned facts and circumstances, keeping in mind the legal provisions specifically on the ground of parity, the Court was inclined to allow the instant bail application albeit with stringent conditions.

The Court observed, “while considering the question of bail, the Court under Section 37(b)(ii) of the NDPS Act is not required to be merely satisfied about the dual conditions i.e., prima facie opinion of the innocence of the accused and that the accused will not commit a similar offence while on bail, but the court must have “reasonable grounds” for such satisfaction. The test which the Courts are required to apply while granting bail is whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the accused has not committed an offence and whether he is likely to commit any offence while on bail.

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Judgment reviewed by – Shristi Suman

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