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State of Kerala and Ors. vs. Rajesh and Ors. - (Supreme Court) (24 Jan 2020)

The jurisdiction of the Court to grant bail is circumscribed by the provisions of Section 37 of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985



The appellant-prosecution had challenged the direction exercised by the learned Single Judge of the Kerala High Court in granting post- arrest bail to accused respondents without noticing the mandate of Section 37(1)(b)(ii)of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS) under the order impugned dated 10 May 2019 followed with the 12 June 2019 rejecting the application filed by the Appellant under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) for recalling the order of post arrest bail dated 10 May 2019.

The Court observed that the scheme of Section 37 reveals the exercise of granting bail is subject to limitations under Section 439 of CrPC and the non obstante clause under Section 37.The operative part of the section prescribes two conditions which have to be satisfied to enlarge bail of a person accused under NDPS Act. The first condition entails giving the prosecution an opportunity to oppose the application and the second condition requires that the Court has to be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of the offence.

If either of these two conditions is not satisfied, bail cannot be granted. The expression ‘reasonable grounds’ means something more than prima facie grounds and 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.

There cannot be a liberal approaching the matter of bail in Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.


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