21 November 2022


Judgments

High Court of Punjab and Haryana

Rakesh Kumar Singla vs. Union Of India

MANU/PH/0011/2021

14.01.2021

Narcotics

Certificate under Section 65B of Indian Evidence Act is necessary, when reliance is being placed upon electronic record

The instant petition has been filed for grant of regular bail to the Petitioner in case bearing Crime under Sections 8, 21, 22, 29 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act). The Petitioner submitted that, the Petitioner was neither arrested on the spot nor any recovery of contraband was effected from him and thus, he has been illegally detained.

In the instant case, the Narcotics Bureau is relying not only upon the statement given by a co-accused implicating the Petitioner but also upon a statement given under Section 67 of the NDPS Act by the Petitioner. The Petitioner has been nominated as an accused on the disclosure statement of co-accused who had sent the consignment to Ferozepur. The complicity of the Petitioner will have to be determined by the quality of evidence led during trial. As far as the self inculpatory statement relied upon, present Court is prima facie of the opinion that, the ratio as laid down in the reference order in Tofan Singh Vs. State of Tamil Nadu case would come to the aid of the Petitioner to allow him the benefit of regular bail.

Learned counsel for the NCB has also placed reliance on Whatsapp messages by which the Petitioner could be implicated. However, on the asking of this Court, whether a certificate under Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 is available at the present moment to authenticate the said messages, the answer is in negative. The recent judgment rendered by the Supreme Court in the matter of Arjun Panditrao Khotkar Vs. Kailash Kushanrao Gorantyal and others has held that, a certificate Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act is required, when reliance is being placed upon electronic record. Therefore, the said message would be of no evidentiary value as on date.

The investigation in the matter is complete and the challan stands presented and therefore, present Court is of the opinion that, no useful purpose would be served in keeping the Petitioner behind bars. The instant petition is allowed and the Petitioner is directed to be released on regular bail on execution of adequate personal/ surety bond of an amount of Rs.10 Lakhs to the satisfaction of concerned trial Court/Duty Magistrate. The Narcotics Bureau would always be at liberty to rely upon the Whatsapp messages after due compliance of provisions of Section 65-B of the Indian Evidence Act.

Tags : Bail Compliance Provisions

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