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SC grants bail to accused under NDPS Act in "unusual times" of COVID-19

The 3-judge bench noted that the apex court has passed orders for release of persons on bail to decongest jails, applicable to cases of up to seven years sentence.

Published: 15th September 2020 02:17 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th September 2020 02:17 PM   |  A+A-

Supreme Court

Supreme Court (File Photo | PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has granted bail to a person in a case filed under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act in view of “unusual times” of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A three judge bench of Justices S K Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari noted that the apex court has passed orders for release of persons on bail to decongest jails, applicable to cases of up to seven years sentence.

The apex court said, “We are faced with unusual times where the COVID situation permeates.

“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.”

The lawyer appearing for the petitioner Sheru argued that the accused has been in custody for almost eight years and despite directions of this Court to treat the case on priority, it has not yet reached the hearing stage.

On the other hand, the Additional Solicitor General SV Raju appearing for Narcotics Control Bureau contended 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. 

Section 37 of the NDPS Act which provides for the conditions for granting bail to an accused.

The top court said that there is no doubt that the rigours 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. 

The apex court clarified that the order has been passed in the given facts of the case and not to be treated as a precedent.  

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