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The expression “reasonable grounds” means something more than prima facie grounds: High Court of Delhi

The expression “reasonable grounds” contemplates substantial probable causes for believing that the accused is not guilty of the alleged offence. The reasonable belief 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 and the same was upheld by High Court of Delhi through the learned bench led by JUSTICE ANU MALHOTRA in the case of ARUN KUMAR GOYAL vs. NARCOTICS CONTROL BUREAU [BAIL APPLN. No.4317/2021] on 25.03.2022

The facts of the case are that the NCB recovered 80 Kgs of loose Tramadol tablets kept in applicant’s place which were under his conscious possession and thereby had led to a seizure of commercial quantity of contraband. Applicant vide the present application seeks the grant of bail in relation to offences under the NDPS Act, 1985, submitting to the effect that he has been falsely implicated in the instant case and has been incarcerated with it having been submitted on behalf of the applicant that there has been no recovery of any contraband from the applicant nor at his behest.

The applicant’s counsel submitted that the chemical examination report in relation to the said Tramadol tablets has not been placed on record by the Investigating Agency and that thus in the absence of a complete investigation report having been filed in terms of Section 173(8) of the Cr.P.C., 1973, the applicant was entitled to be released on default bail in terms of Section 167(2) of the Cr.P.C., 1973.

The NCB submitted that the applicant has indulged in trafficking of the commercial quantity of contraband in conspiracy with the co-accused and thus there is an embargo under Section 37 of the NDPS Act, 1985, for grant of bail and that the charges are yet to be framed and the trial is yet to commence and that as per Section 37(1)(b)(ii) of the NDPS Act, 1985, there are no reasonable grounds for believing by this Court that the accused is, prima facie, not guilty of the offence.

It was held by the Court that the application filed by the applicant seeking the grant of bail is dismissed in view of the alleged incriminating evidence collected against the applicant and this Court not being satisfied prima facie that the applicant is not guilty of the commission of any offence nor of the factum that the applicant is not likely to commit any such offence whilst on bail.

It was observed that, “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.”

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Judgment reviewed by – Shristi Suman

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