Karnataka High Court relied on Supreme Court verdict to grant bail in a drug case

The Karnataka High Court granted bail to an accused in a drug case where ketamine was seized in the house last year.

The accused(Shivaraj) has been in judicial custody since May 2019, after being arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau. The officials had seized 26 kgs of ketamine hydrochloride, a drug-manufacturing machine and documents from him. After the other two accused in this case were granted bail, Shivraj submitted his fourth bail petition.

The High Court relied on the dictum laid by the Supreme Court in the case of
Tofan Singh v. State of Tamil Nadu,

In October 2020, a bench consisting of Justice Navin Sinha, Justice Rohinton Nariman and Justice Indira Banerjee, had laid down in a 2:1 majority, that officers under the Section 53 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 are police officers.
By virtue of Section 25 of the Evidence Act, any confessional statement made to these officers would be barred and cannot be taken into account in order to convict an accused under the NDPS Act.

In the present case it was noted by Justice PS Dinesh Kumar that the petitioner had been in custody for more than a year and seven months. He further stated that there was no possibility of a trial in future and any further detention would amount to violation of Article 21.

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