Thirty-year-old Mohammed Rafiq Sheikh, who was recently acquitted by the special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) court in an alleged contraband possession case will continue his stay in prison because he is unable to furnish a surety under a newly amended section of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
As per section 437 (a) of the CrPC, even after the acquittal of a person, he will have to furnish a surety. “The act was amended in December 2009, but since the new books came out only in September, the amendment was not noticed earlier,” said defence lawyer Nilofar Sayed.
The court directed Sheikh to furnish a surety or bond of Rs 15,000. However, Sheikh has not been able to do that.
The amount is to be furnished as a surety so that the person does not go absconding during the appeal period.
The new amendment was to ensure that the acquitted accused is present in court in case the state files an appeal in a higher court.
“Sheikh’s case is probably the first where the new amendment was put into practice,” Sayed said.
Sheikh’s case dates back to August 2009 when he was arrested for allegedly possessing nearly two kilograms of charas. The Anti Narcotics Cell (ANC) said Sheikh was going to sell it to his clients.
The court however acquitted Sheikh after observing that none of the five prosecution witnesses supported the ANC’s case.