SC:Reasonable grounds u/s37 NDPS Act is more than prima facie grounds

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 24th January 2020, in the matter of State Of Kerala Etc. v. Rajesh Etc. pronounced that the expression “reasonable grounds” in Section 37 of NDPS Act means something more than prima facie grounds. It contemplates substantial probable causes for believing that the accused is not guilty of the alleged offence.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

The scheme of Section 37 NDPS Act (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985) reveals that the exercise of power to grant bail is not only subject to the limitations contained under Section 439 of the CrPC, but is also subject to the limitation placed by Section 37 which commences with non­obstante clause. The operative part of the said section is in the negative form prescribing the enlargement of bail to any person accused of commission of an offence under the Act, unless twin conditions are satisfied. The first condition is that the prosecution must be given an opportunity to oppose the application; and the second, is that the Court must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of such offence. If either of these two conditions is not satisfied, the ban for granting bail operates. (Para 20)

The expression “reasonable grounds” in Section 37 of NDPS Act means something more than prima facie grounds. It contemplates substantial probable causes for believing that the accused is not guilty of the alleged offence. The reasonable belief contemplated in the provision requires existence of such facts and circumstances as are sufficient in themselves to justify satisfaction that the accused is not guilty of the alleged offence. (Para 21)

Copy of judgement:Judgement_24-Jan-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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