Monday, 14 September 2020

Supreme Court: Accused is not entitled to be released on bail in NDPS Case even if appeal remains pending for a long time

We have heard learned counsel for the parties.
The submission of the learned senior counsel for the
appellant, inter alia, is that he has been in custody for
almost eight years and despite the directions of this
Court to treat the case at priority, at present the case
is not reached for hearing.
On the other hand, the learned Additional Solicitor
General for the respondent contends that the normal
principle of a large period having already been served
during the pendency of the appeal cannot be a ground to
suspend the sentence and grant bail, in view of the
stringent provisions of Section 37 of the NDPS Act. In
this behalf, he has invited our attention to judgment of
this Court in the case of Union of India v. Rattan Mallik
@ Habul - (2009) 2 SCC 624.
We have given a thought to the matter and there is
no doubt that the rigors of Section 37 would have to be
met before the sentence of a convict is suspended and
bail granted and mere passage of time cannot be a reason
for the same.
IN THE SUPRME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL Nos.585-586 OF 2020

SHERU  Vs NARCOTICS CONTROL BUREAU 

Dated: September 11, 2020.

Leave granted.
We have heard learned counsel for the parties.
The submission of the learned senior counsel for the
appellant, inter alia, is that he has been in custody for
almost eight years and despite the directions of this
Court to treat the case at priority, at present the case
is not reached for hearing.
On the other hand, the learned Additional Solicitor
General for the respondent contends that the normal
principle of a large period having already been served
during the pendency of the appeal cannot be a ground to
suspend the sentence and grant bail, in view of the
stringent provisions of Section 37 of the NDPS Act. In
this behalf, he has invited our attention to judgment of
this Court in the case of Union of India v. Rattan Mallik
@ Habul - (2009) 2 SCC 624.
We have given a thought to the matter and there is
no doubt that the rigors of Section 37 would have to be
met before the sentence of a convict is suspended and
bail granted and mere passage of time cannot be a reason

for the same. However, we are faced with unusual times
where the Covid situation permeates. We are also conscious
that this Court has passed orders for release of
persons on bail to de-congest the jail but that but that
is applicable to cases of upto seven years sentence.
In the given aforesaid facts and circumstances of
the case, we consider it appropriate to enlarge the appellant
on bail on terms and conditions to the satisfaction
of the Trial Court.
At the insistence of the learned Additional Solicitor
General, we clarify that the order has been passed in
the given facts of the case and not to be treated as a
precedent.
The appeals stand disposed of.
......................J.
(SANJAY KISHAN KAUL)
......................J.
(ANIRUDDHA BOSE)
......................J.
(KRISHNA MURARI)
New Delhi;
September 11, 2020.

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