Read Order: Malook Singh v. State of Punjab

LE Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 1, 2022: While dealing with a bail plea in an NDPS Act matter wherein ‘heroin’ was recovered from from the petitioner’s house in pursuance to a statement made by him, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has granted the concession of bail to such the petitioner on the ground that he was in custody for a period of 2 years, 9 months and 14 days and the trial was likely to take time, thus no useful purpose would be served by keeping the him in detention any longer.

It was also noted by the Bench of Justice Alka Sarin that there was no other case pending against the petitioner and the petitioner was a first time offender.

The Court was dealing with a second petition under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for grant of regular bail to the petitioner in an FIR registered under Section 21 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act). The first petition was dismissed as withdrawn. 

It was the case of the petitioner’s counsel that the petitioner was falsely implicated in the case and that he was in custody for a period of 02 years, 09 months and 14 days. The counsel further contended that there was no other case pending against the petitioner and out of eight prosecution witnesses only three were examined. 

It was further the case of the counsel that when the alleged recovery was stated to have been made from the petitioner it was stated to be ‘heroin’, however, on receipt of the FSL Report it transpired that the same was ‘Tramadol Hydrochloride’.

The State counsel submitted that the above-stated FIR under Section 21/61/85 of the NDPS Act was registered on the complaint of ASI Rohit Maroofia against Sukhchain Singh @ Chaina, Major Singh and the present petitioner. Thereafter, after following the due procedure of law, Sukhchain Singh @Chaina and Malook Singh were apprehended by the Police party at the spot whereas Major Singh fled from the spot. 

On questioning, Sukhchain Singh alias Chaina made a statement about the place where heroin was placed and pursuant to this, recovery was made. Further, it was stated by the Counsel that on questioning the petitioner, he stated that he had hidden heroin in a polythene packet at the back of his house buried near the wall at the south side of the house and he can get the same recovered from the spot. Thereafter, recovery was stated to have been effected from the place as disclosed by the petitioner. 

The Counsel added that the packet was sealed and after following due procedure of law was sent for FSL Report. As per the FSL Report the ingredient of the recovered powder was found to be Tramadol Hydrochloride. The State counsel did not deny that the petitioner was in custody since August 11, 2019 and that there was no other case pending against the petitioner. The State counsel was also not in a position to deny that out of total eight prosecution witnesses only three were examined. 

Keeping in view the fact that the petitioner was in custody for a period of 02 years, 09 months and 14 days and the trial was likely to take time, the Court was of the opinion that no useful purpose would be served by keeping the petitioner in detention any longer. It was also noted that there was no other case pending against the petitioner and the petitioner was a first time offender.

Therefore, keeping in view the totality of circumstances and without commenting on the merits of the case, the Court deemed it appropriate to grant the concession of regular bail to the petitioner. The petitioner was directed to be released on bail subject to his furnishing bail bonds/surety bonds to the satisfaction of the Illaqa Magistrate/Duty Magistrate/Trial Court concerned.

However, the Prosecution was given the liberty to apply for cancellation of bail in case the petitioner was found to be misusing the concession of bail in any manner. 

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