Read Order: Harbhajan Singh @ Bhajja v. State of Punjab 

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, February 21, 2022: While dealing with a bail plea in a matter where 19000 intoxicating capsules named ‘RIDLEY’ were recovered from the petitioner and the coaccused, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has observed that the State of Punjab which was known as one of the prosperous States is now at the brink of drug trafficking. 

Coming to the factual aspects of the case, the Bench of Justice Harnaresh Singh Gill added that in order to curb this menace, the accused like the petitioner (from whom a commercial quantity of contraband was recovered) are to be dealt with stringently even at the stage of granting her/him bail in NDPS Act cases involving commercial quantity. 

In this case, the petitioner sought regular bail in an FIR registered against the accused-petitioner under Sections 21 and 29 NDPS Act, 1985. As per the case of the prosecution, 19000 intoxicating capsules ‘RIDLEY’ were recovered from the petitioner and the co-accused.

The petitioner’s counsel contended that the alleged recovery of intoxicating capsules was effected from an envelope lying in a bag between the legs of the co-accused, near the back seat of the car occupied by him (co-accused). Thus, he argued that the petitioner was not in conscious possession of the intoxicating tablets as also that the petitioner was in custody for the last more than 08 months. In support of his contentions, the counsel relied upon the judgment of the Coordinate Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court, in Rupinder Singh v. State of Punjab,  CRM-M-14523-2021.

On the other hand, the State counsel, while opposing the bail plea submitted that when the petitioner along with co-accused was travelling in the car, the alleged recovery of intoxicating tablets was effected and the alleged recovery fell under the commercial quantity thus attracting the bar of Section 37 NDPS Act. 

In support of his contentions, he relied upon the judgment rendered by the Supreme Court in Union of India through Narcotics Control Bureau, Lucknow v. Md. Nawaz Khan, 2021(3) Law Herald (SC) 2086. The counsel further submitted that the petitioner was also involved in one more case under Section 21 NDPS Act, wherein he was released on bail. 

The Court observed that undoubtedly, the recovery effected in the present case fell under the commercial quantity and hence the bar of Section 37 NDPS Act would be attracted. The fact that the petitioner was also involved in another case of similar nature showing his tendency of committing an offence of similar nature, was also considered by the Court. 

Further, the Court opined that the petitioner could not seek the concession of regular bail as it would pave the way for his involvement in other cases of similar nature. Reference in this regard was made to Md. Nawaz Khan’s Case (Supra)

Therefore, finding no merit in the petition, the same was dismissed.

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