Read Order: Mukesh Kumar v. the State of Haryana

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, March 2, 2022: While dealing with a plea for the grant of anticipatory bail to accused in NDPS matter, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that in the present case there was nothing in Section 37 of NDPS Act that empowered the High Court to grant interim protection once the bail plea of the accused was dismissed. 

The Bench of Justice Anoop Chitkara made the above observation in light of the fact that the interim protection from arrest which was granted to the petitioner was vacated by the Court as the bail plea of the petitioner was opposed by the State and the petitioner was unable to satisfy the twin conditions of Section 37 NDPS Act. But later, the petitioner’s counsel sought one week’s protection for filing the SLP before the Supreme Court and thus the Court stated that once his bail plea was dismissed, the Court could not grant interim protection. 

The petitioner apprehending arrest for violating Sections 22-C, 27-A and 29 of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) came up before the High Court under Section 438 Cr.P.C. seeking anticipatory bail.

On an earlier occasion, the Court granted interim relief from arrest to the petitioner, on his assurance that he would make himself present before the Police for interrogation. Interim protection was granted also because the State opposed the grant of bail of the petitioner, as they wanted his custodial interrogation.

As per the prosecution, the role attributed to the petitioner was that there were call details between the petitioner and his co-accused Manpreet Singh @ Babbu who was now in custody. 

The petitioner’s counsel argued that the calls between the petitioner – Mukesh Kumar and co-accused Manpreet Singh @ Babbu were in fact between their wives who were friends. Sandeep Kaur, the wife of the co-accused (Manpreet) stated in the presence of the Sarpanch and Panch, that she never used the mobile phone of her husband nor did she come across any person named Meena Rani. But the petitioner’s counsel submitted an affidavit of her stating a contrary claim. 

The reply filed by the State explicitly mentioned that the statement of Sandeep Kaur was recorded in the presence of the Sarpanch and Panch. 

After considering the submissions of both the parties, the Court observed that given the stand taken by the State, the petitioner was prima facie incorrect and was not entitled to interim protection. 

Further, the Court observed that Section 37 of the NDPS Act refrained protection of the petitioner and he needed to satisfy the Court in case the public prosecutor opposed the bail and in the present case, the public prosecutors consistently opposed the bail to the petitioner and he advanced a case for custodial investigation of the petitioner. A perusal of the entire petition did not make out a case for anticipatory bail, because the petition was required to satisfy the twin conditions of Section 37 NDPS Act, the Court asserted. 

Additionally, the Court opined, ”At this stage, learned counsel for the petitioner submits that he be afforded a week’s time protection to enable him to approach the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Needless to say that filing an SLP is subject to other conditions and in the present case, there is nothing in Section 37 NDPS Act that empowers this Court to grant interim protection once the bail is dismissed. 

Thus, the interim order was vacated and the petition was dismissed.

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