Himachal Pradesh High Court Grants Bail to a Repeat Offender with Four Prior Charges Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

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In the case of Veero Devi v. State of Himachal Pradesh, the petitioner had filed for bail due to the pandemic. She was under the custody for alleged possession of heroin. The Court granted the bail in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Facts of the case

A police party, while being on patrolling duty, noticed the petitioner walking down a road. Seeing the patrolling party, the petitioner changed her movement in an abrupt manner. She then allegedly threw a packet on the side of the road. This sudden movement caught the suspicion of the police. They caught her and resultantly, collected the packet she threw away.

On investigation, they found that the packet had 6.68 grams of heroin in it. The police arrested the petitioner and lodged an FIR against her. The FIR was lodged under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and the Code of Criminal Procedure. Earlier, the Court did not grant her the bail. The Court rejected the bail as the petitioner had four prior cases registered against her.

Arguments made by the Petitioner

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The counsel argued that the petitioner was not in the position to abscond, as she is a local resident. Second, the heroin found was of intermediate quantity. Further, the counsel stated that the petitioner will not tamper or interfere with the prosecution’s case. If bail is granted, the counsel stated that the petitioner will abide with all the conditions.

Arguments made by the Respondent

The respondent’s counsel argued that the petitioner has already four cases registered against her. Further, all four cases registered against her were under the same statutes. Hence, the Court should not grant bail to her.

Court’s Observations

The Court stated that the four prior cases served as the petitioner’s criminal antecedents. Now, she committed the same offence again. Thus, the petitioner had not mended her actions.

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The Court observed that the Petitioner had been in jail for four months. Moreover, the investigation was almost completed. In view of COVID-19, the Court was willing to give the petitioner one last chance. This would provide her with a chance to mend her ways.

Court’s Judgement

The Court granted the bail with a personal bond of Rs. 25,000. The Court stated that if the petitioner commits the same offence again, the bail will be dismissed.  Additionally, the petitioner must not tamper the evidence or manipulate the investigation.

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