The Petitioner in the case of, Partap Singh and others v State of Himachal Pradesh, was allegedly involved in the illegal possession of drugs. The police filed an FIR and arrested the petitioner under Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act for the same. Subsequently, the petitioner prayed for Anticipatory Bail. The court granted the same and considered the case to be fit for bail. The Coram consisted of Mr Justice Sandeep Sharma.
Brief facts of the Case
On 6th August 2020, the police launched an FIR against the Petitioner. The police booked the Petitioner under section 18 of the Narcotic, Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act. The charges were filed due to his alleged possession of Poppy and Opium.
The Petitioner, through an instant petition, filed for Anticipatory Bail. The Petition was filed under Section 438 of CrPC.
According to the status report filed, investigation of the case and gathering of evidence is yet to be completed. Also, there is nothing left for recovery from the Petitioner.
The Counsel for the Petitioner stated that the Petitioner has been cooperating with the investigation. Also, based on the evidence collected, as of now, there is no need for custodial interrogation. Further, there is nothing left for recovery from the Petitioner. Thus, the bail ought to be granted on these grounds.
The Counsel for the Respondents argued that the Petitioner may try to tamper with the investigation by manipulating the evidence. Further, the Counsel argued that he may try to flee from justice if enlarged on bail. The Counsel stated that if he has to gets enlarged on bail, it should be with stringent conditions.
Observations of the Court
The High Court observed that the Petitioner’s custody would not serve any benefit. The court referred to precedents given by the Supreme Court which have deliberated on synonymous disputes. The Court quoted the 2018 decision in Dataram Singh v State of UP and Anr (CRL.) NO. 151 OF 2018. The precedent carried an identical opinion. It held that freedom of an indicted individual cannot be abridged for an uncertain period.
The court observed that the accused is innocent until found guilty. Thus, he should get treated like an innocent individual until he is convicted, under law. The court stated that punishment only begins after proving the accused to be guilty. The court further stated that bail is not meant to be punitive or preventive.
The court further observed that bail of the Petitioner has to be decided by looking at the state of the investigation, circumstances and evidence and not the severity of the charge alone. It stated that the nature of accusations, nature of evidence in support and character of the accused must also be taken into account.
Further, bail can be denied to ensure that the accused does not escape away from the trial and justice.
However, based on the aforesaid facts and status report, it does not find any reason to deny bail. Thus, the court found the case to be fit for bail.
Based on aforesaid facts, the court allowed the petition. Further, the petitioner was ordered to adhere to strict conditions for bail.
First, he has to cooperate and have to be present whenever needed for the investigation. Second, he should not tamper with any evidence, or influence the investigation in their support. Third, the court has to be kept updated about his whereabouts. Lastly, he cannot leave the country.
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