"Reasonable Grounds" Under SADA Would Have Same Meaning As Explained By Apex Court Under S.37 Of NDPS Act: Sikkim High Court

  • Ratna Singh
  • 05:33 PM, 01 Feb 2021

The Sikkim High Court has held that the “reasonable grounds” under Section 18 of the Sikkim Anti-Drugs Act (SADA), 2006 would have same meaning as has been explained by the Supreme Court vis-à-vis Section 37 of the NDPS Act, 1985.

The Single Judge bench of Justice Bhaskar Raj Pradhan observed the same while deciding the bail application filed under section 439 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

The applicant stated that he was arrested in connection with the aforesaid FIR. He was forwarded to State Jail at Rongyek on the same day itself by the learned Judicial Magistrate, Gangtok. After the investigation got over and chargesheet was filed. It was also stated that the applicant had moved an application for bail before the learned Special Judge, SADA, 2006 which was rejected on September 1, 2020.

“The bail application was rejected on the ground that the offences were of serious nature and there was possibility of the applicant abusing his freedom in the event of being enlarged on bail.”

Therefore the applicant preferred the present application under Section 439 read with Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.P.C.) seeking bail under Sections 7(a)(b)/9/14 of the Sikkim Anti-Drugs Act, 2006 (SADA, 2006) read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). 

The petitioner contended that the learned Special Judge had failed to appreciate the facts and circumstances of the case as well as the law in its correct prospective. It was contended that since the investigation of the case has been completed he would be entitled to be enlarged on bail. It was further stated that the applicant had been falsely implicated and Section 18 of SADA, 2006 had not been appreciated correctly by the learned Special Judge.

In this context, the court observed that,

“The words “reasonable grounds” under Section 18 of the SADA, 2006 would have same meaning as has been explained by the Supreme Court vis-à-vis Section 37 of the NDPS Act, 1985. It would connote substantial probable cause for believing that the accused is not guilty of the offences charged and that this reasonable belief contemplated in turn would point to the existence of such facts and circumstances as are sufficient in themselves to justify recording of satisfaction that the accused is not guilty of the offence charged.”  

Taking into account the factual matrix of the case the court relied upon the Supreme Court judgment in Narcotics Control Bureau vs. Kishan Lal & Ors., Intelligence Officer, Narcotics C. Bureau v. Sambhu Sonkar & Anr., Narcotics Control Bureau vs. Dilip Pralhad Namade and Collector of Customs, New Delhi vs. Ahmadalieva Nodira.

"The records reveal that the learned Special Judge having found prima facie materials against the applicant framed charges under the SADA, 2006 and the IPC. The order framing charge is not under challenge and that none of the materials placed would point to the existence of any facts or circumstances sufficient in themselves to justify the satisfaction that the applicant is not guilty of the offence charged. Therefore, in due consideration of the provisions of Section 439 and Section 18 of the SADA 2006, the materials against the applicant and the offences alleged to have been committed by the applicant this court is of the considered view that bail sought for by the applicant cannot be granted.”
- Sikkim High Court

Case Title: Ganesh Sharma @ Gelal Vs. State of Sikkim
Statute/ Point of Law involved: SADA, 2006, IPC, CRPC

Access Copy of Judgment Here