HC grants bail to pregnant woman in drugs seizure cases - Hindustan Times
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HC grants bail to pregnant woman in drugs seizure cases

By, Chandigarh
Dec 17, 2023 07:30 AM IST

The court observed that although the woman is alleged to have been found in possession of the contraband falling in commercial category but pregnancy of a woman is a special circumstance, in which the gravity of the offence for the time being is liable to be ignored

The Punjab and Haryana high court granted bail to a Ludhiana woman arrested by police in 55kg poppy husk seizure case holding that on humanitarian grounds, bar under Section 37 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act cannot be considered to act as a blanket ban on the power of the court to grant interim bail to the accused.

The Punjab and Haryana high court granted bail to a Ludhiana woman arrested by police in 55kg poppy husk seizure case holding that on humanitarian grounds, bar under Section 37 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act cannot be considered to act as a blanket ban on the power of the court to grant interim bail to the accused.
The Punjab and Haryana high court granted bail to a Ludhiana woman arrested by police in 55kg poppy husk seizure case holding that on humanitarian grounds, bar under Section 37 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act cannot be considered to act as a blanket ban on the power of the court to grant interim bail to the accused.

The pregnant woman had approached high court seeking interim bail for six months in view of her pregnancy. She had stated that she was now at an advance stage of pregnancy. She already has two daughters aged 13 years and one year and three months. The plea stated that the last delivery of the petitioner was conducted by way of caesarean as complications of infection had arisen. Proper treatment of the petitioner is required for delivery, her lawyer had submitted before the court. The court had summoned a report from the police in which it was stated that she was stated to be pregnant for 26 weeks and five days.

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The court observed that although the woman is alleged to have been found in possession of the contraband falling in commercial category but pregnancy of a woman is a special circumstance, in which the gravity of the offence for the time being is liable to be ignored.

“Giving birth to a child while in custody is not only traumatic to the mother but also to the child to be born because psyche of a child will always have an adverse impact, as and when said child is questioned about his birth. Besides, dignity is liable to be ensured to a pregnant woman, in view of fundamental right enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India guaranteeing life and liberty,” the bench of justice Deepak Gupta observed.

As per the police, the woman was arrested in a June 2023 FIR registered after drugs seizure at Samrala police station in Ludhiana. Allegations were that 55kg of poppy husk was recovered from her possession and one co-accused along with drug money of 70,000.

Section 37 bars bail in commercial quantity seizures of drugs. The SC, while dealing with Section 37 of NDPS Act, has laid down that before granting bail, the court has to have “reasonable grounds” for believing that accused is not guilty of offence that he has been charged and that he is unlikely to commit offence under NDPS Act while on bail again. The second condition is of granting opportunity to public prosecutor to oppose the bail.

However, the court said that no doubt that Section 37 of the NDPS Act creates fetter on grant of bail in such like cases involving possession of contraband of commercial category but at the same time when bail is considered on humanitarian grounds, Section 37 cannot be considered to act as a blanket ban.

“The interest of the child is also to be taken into consideration, who is not expected to be exposed to the prisons, unless and until it is found that there is grave danger in releasing the petitioner on bail,” it further recorded adding that it can’t deny bail at a time when proper delivery of the petitioner is required under medical care.

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