Karnataka High Court Grants Bail to Nemappa S/O Chandrappa in Narcotic Drugs Case

Nemappa S/O Chandrappa vs The State Of Karnataka
11 May, 2023
Bench: Hon’ble Ramachandra D. Huddar

In a recent judgment, the Karnataka High Court, Kalaburagi Bench, granted bail to Mr. Nemappa S/O Chandrappa, a 60-year-old coolie residing in Gorebal, Lingasugur Taluk, Raichur District. The bail was granted in connection with Crime No. 39/2022-23/2706SIE1/270606 registered at the Lingasugur Police Station under various sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. The decision was made by the Hon’ble Mr. Justice Ramachandra D. Huddar, who found merit in the petitioner’s arguments and ordered his release on bail.

The case originated from a complaint filed by the Excise Sub-Inspector of Lingasugur Excise Range, stating that Mr. Nemappa was allegedly cultivating ganja plants on his land in Gorebai Thanda No.1. Acting on the information, the Excise Inspector, along with his staff and village panchayat members, visited the location and found four ganja plants weighing a total of 7 kilograms and 225 grams. Subsequently, the ganja plants were seized, and a case was registered against Mr. Nemappa under the relevant provisions of the NDPS Act.

Petitioner’s Arguments:
Mr. Nemappa’s counsel vehemently argued for his innocence, claiming that his client had been falsely implicated in the case. They disputed the alleged seizure of ganja from the petitioner’s possession, asserting that the prosecution had failed to produce any evidence establishing his involvement. The defense further contended that the mandatory provisions of Sections 42 to 50 of the NDPS Act had not been properly followed during the investigation. Additionally, they emphasized Mr. Nemappa’s age (60 years) and cited Section 437 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which supports granting bail to elderly individuals.

Prosecution’s Response:
The prosecution, represented by the High Court Government Pleader, opposed the bail petition, asserting that the offenses under the NDPS Act were non-bailable. They argued that the ganja plants had indeed been seized from Mr. Nemappa’s possession, amounting to a substantial quantity. The prosecution also raised concerns about the petitioner interfering with the ongoing investigation and the potential negative message his release could send to society.

Court’s Decision:
After considering the arguments from both sides and examining the complaint and supporting records, Justice Ramachandra D. Huddar delivered the order. The court observed that the prosecution had not produced any documents to prove the petitioner’s ownership of the land where the ganja plants were allegedly grown. Moreover, it noted discrepancies regarding the weight of the seized ganja, which was described as wet and subject to reduction in weight once dried. The court highlighted that growing ganja is an offense under the NDPS Act, but the determination of the petitioner’s guilt should be decided during the trial. Considering the petitioner’s age and lack of criminal antecedents, the court held that bail should be granted with certain conditions.

The Karnataka High Court’s decision to grant bail to Mr. Nemappa S/O Chandrappa in the NDPS case reflects the principle of presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The court recognized the need to strike a balance between individual liberty and the seriousness of the offense, thereby allowing the petitioner’s release on bail. As the case proceeds to trial, the court’s decision serves as a reminder of the importance of due process and the rule of law.

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