The Madras High Court bench has ruled that those arrested in narcotics drug cases cannot be denied statutory bail after 180 days of incarceration.
Justice S Tamilselvan granting bail to two accused yesterday said bail could be denied upto a year under Section 36(A)(4) of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) only if the Public Prosecutor (PP) had himself filed the report explaining reasons for extending judicial remand beyond 180 days.
He said in this case the accused cannot be denied bail merely on a report by the Investigating Officer (IO) and countersigned as 'submitted' by the PP. The PP has to state compelling reasons for denying bail to the accused, the judge added.
"A report filed by the Investigating Officer and counter signed by the Public Prosecutor alongwith word 'submitted' cannot be construed as a report of the prosecutor. Further in the present case, the report also does not contain compelling reasons for detaining the accused beyond 180 days," he said.
Justice S Tamilselvan said the Code of Criminal Procedure, states that a person accused of an offence for a maximum sentence of below 10 years can be enlarged on bail after 90 days if police fail to file a chargesheet within that period.
However, considering the gravity of the offence of possessing commercial quantity of narcotic substances, statutory bail period in those cases had been extended upto 180 days.
In the present case, the IO had filed a report before the special court of NDPS cases in Pudukottai, objecting to the release of the two accused, countersigned by a local PP.
Accepting it, the special court had denied bail.
Hence the petitioners filed a criminal revision petition at the High Court bench here.