NDPS: Absence Of Recovery Of Contraband From Possession Of Accused By Itself Not A Ground To Grant Bail: Supreme Court

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NDPS: Absence Of Recovery Of Contraband From Possession Of Accused By Itself Not A Ground To Grant Bail

Case: Union of India vs Md. Nawaz Khan

Coram: Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna

Case no.: CrA 1043 of 2021

Court Observation: “As regards the finding of the High Court regarding absence of recovery of the contraband from the possession of the respondent, we note that in Union of India v. Rattan Mallik, a two-judge Bench of this Court cancelled the bail of an accused and reversed the finding of the High Court, which had held that as the contraband (heroin) was recovered from a specially made cavity above the cabin of a truck, no contraband was found in the ‘possession’ of the accused. The Court observed that merely making a finding on the possession of the contraband did not fulfil the parameters of Section 37(1)(b) and there was non-application of mind by the High Court. In line with the decision of this Court in Rattan Mallik (supra), we are of the view that a finding of the absence of possession of the contraband on the person of the respondent by the High Court in the impugned order does not absolve it of the level of scrutiny required under Section 37(1)(b)(ii) of the NDPS Act.”

“In Mohan Lal v. State of Rajasthan (2015) 6 SCC 222, this Court also observed that the term “possession” could mean physical possession with animus; custody over the prohibited substances with animus; exercise of dominion and control as a result of concealment; or personal knowledge as to the existence of the contraband and the intention based on this knowledge.”

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