Rashid Paul

HC raps Sessions court for granting bail to alleged drug-trafficker

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Srinagar: Coming down heavily on a Session’s court for granting bail to a “drug-trafficker”, the J&K High Court today asked the subordinate courts to keep in mind the socio-economic consequences of trafficking and implement the law regulating the matter in its true spirit.

The High Court asked the subordinate courts to have regard to the harmful socio-economic consequences as well as the health hazards accompanying drug trafficking.

“This menace (of trafficking) is a dangerous issue and (judges) should ensure implementation of the law in the same spirit with which it has been enacted by the parliament,” directed the court.

The petitioner Khurshid Ahmad Wani facing charges of trafficking Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances had been admitted to an interim bail by the Court of Principal District Sessions (PDS) Judge Bandipora in June this year.

The “trafficker” had approached the PDS court with an application seeking his release on interim bail on the ground that his wife had to undergo some surgery and that there was no one in his home to make arrangements for the surgery.

The trial court, on 30th of June, 2020, admitted him to short-term bail till 14th of July, 2020, with a rider that he will surrender before the court on 14th of July, 2020. In default thereof, the police would be at liberty to immediately arrest the accused without any further order from the court.

Thereafter the accused filed another application seeking extension in the interim bail. The application was however rejected. The ground being “the applicant having failed to surrender before the court, thereby has violated the terms and conditions prescribed in the order dated 30th of June, 2020”.

The court also directed its office to issue non-bailable warrants of arrest against the petitioner with a further direction to the Station House Officer (SHO) concerned to execute the warrants and produce the petitioner before the court on or before the next date of hearing.

The accused drug-peddler however approached the High Court to assail the PDS court order through the medium of Criminal Revision.

The High Court while hearing the revision held that the trial court seemed to have completely overlooked the underlying object of Section 37 of the NDPS Act.

“Its liberal approach in the matter of bail under the NDPS Act is indeed uncalled for,” it said adding the grounds/reasons for admitting the petitioner to bail do not, in any manner, fall within the ambit of the scheme of the NDPS Act.

“The very jurisdiction exercised by the learned court below while granting interim bail to the petitioner is beyond the mandate of the NDPS Act itself,” it held.

The court said the NDPS Act is a special legislation enacted by the Parliament aimed at curbing the ever-increasing menace of drug trafficking.

If unchecked, it has the potential of not only seriously destroying the public health, but also the health of the nation as a whole. The aforesaid legislative mandate, therefore, is required to be adhered and followed by all concerned in its letter and spirit, the court said.

“The order dated 30th of June, 2020 passed by the trial court, admitting the petitioner to interim bail, cannot withstand the test of law governing the subject and, therefore, as a necessary corollary thereto, there is no question of setting aside the subsequent order dated 25th of July, 2020 passed by the trial court,” the appellate court said.

It held that “the Criminal Revision fails and shall stand dismissed accordingly, along with all connected CrlMs”.

It directed the trial court to proceed ahead with the trial of the case and take it to its logical conclusion expeditiously, in accordance with the law.

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