The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday granted bail to a man booked under the NDPS Act for allegedly possessing 2kg of Heroin in view of his custody period of over 2.5 years and observing that his further incarceration would be violative of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
The bench of Justice Vikas Bahl granted bail to Accused-Sandeep Singh while observing that he had been in custody since May 1, 2020 (more than 2 years and 6 months) and the investigation is complete and the challan has been presented, however, the conclusion of the trial is likely to take time.
In this regard, the Court also referred to the case of Bhupender Singh Vs. Narcotic Control Bureau and other connected matters, wherein the High Court had observed that if an accused is able to make out a case within the parameters of Article 21 of the Constitution of India in view of the custody period, then he could be granted regular bail, even in the face of rigors of Section 37 of the NDPS Act, 1985.
The accused was essentially booked under Sections 21, 25, and 29 of the NDPS Act, 1985 and Sections 307, 427, and 270 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, and was arrested on May 1, 2020, after being found in possession of 2.5 kg of heroin.
He moved the instant bail plea before the Court while arguing that he has been in custody for 2.5 years and that conclusion of the trial is likely to take time.
Having heard the arguments of the counsel for the accused and taking into account the facts and circumstances of the case, at the outset, the Court relied upon the case of Mohammad Salman Hanif Shaik v. The State of Gujarat, wherein the Apex Court had granted bail to an NDPS Act accused only on the ground that he had spent about two years in custody and the conclusion of the trial would take some time.
Against this backdrop, keeping in view the custody period of the accused and the larger mandate of Article 21, the High Court granted the concession of regular bail to the petitioner on his furnishing bail/surety bonds to the satisfaction of the trial Court/Duty Magistrate.
Advocate for the petitioner: Mr. Nikhil Ghai, Advocate and Mr. Siddhant Arora,
For State: Mr. Ramdeep Partap Singh, Sr. DAG, Punjab.
Case title - Sandeep Singh @ Sonu v. State of Punjab [CRM-M-34488-2022 (O&M)]