“When a Foreign National gets arraigned as an accused in a criminal case, then he gets stuck here. It may be traumatic to him, and to his education, family, friends, business, and “n” number of things, which an ordinary human being cannot even imagine. The answer lies in the speedy disposal of cases of foreign nationals, whether they are in custody or on bail”, the Himachal Pradesh High Court stated in a recent case which involved two Nigerian nationals.
The Single Judge Bench of Justice Anoop Chitkara heard the bail plea of two Nigerian nationals. They were prosecuted as accused in FIR No. 115 of 2019, dated 2.09.2019, registered under Sections 21 Section 29 of the NDPS Act, Section 12 of Passport Act, 1967, Section 14 of Foreigners Act 1946, Sections 420 Section 468 Section 471 of IPC [for selling 13.95 grams of heroin (Diacetylmorphine)]
The main factor which has to be taken into consideration is that the Court heard two different bail pleas (Cr. MP (M) No. 39 of 2020 and Cr. MP (M) No. 40 of 2020). The facts of the case and the reasoning given by the Court are similar in nature.
The Court held that the quantity of drug involved in this case is less than the commercial quantity but greater than “small quantity”. As a result of which, the Court noted that the rigours of Section 37 of NDPS Act shall not apply in the present case.
The case was to be treated like any other case of grant of bail in a penal offence. The Court took into consideration the fact that the petitioner was in judicial custody since 5th September,2019 and that the investigation is complete and the report under section 173(2) CrPC, stands filed.
Although the court granted the bail, it also observed, “The solution to this lies not in denying bail. It lies in verifying the antecedents of these types of suspects, before approving or granting visa, and once accused of substance abuse, then revoking the visa. The synergy of law with technology is the next big thing.”
The Court granted bail to the petitioner with four conditions:
- Furnish a personal bond of Rs. 1,00,000
- Within thirty days of his release from prison, the petitioner has been directed to obtain a smartphone, and inform its IMEI number and other details to the SHO/I.O. of the police station.
- He has to always keep the phone location/GPS on the “ON” mode.
- He has to produce the existing phone to the SHO/I.O. of the police station and give details of his new phone before changing his phone.