Appellant Spent Almost Entire Period Of Sentence Without His Appeal Being Heard- Delhi HC Orders Release Of Foreigner In NDPS Case
The Delhi High Court while ordering the release of a foreigner in a Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) case, has observed that the foreigner had spent almost the entire period of his sentence of 9 years and 6 months in jail without his appeal being heard.
Justice Jasmeet Singh held that in case the sentence of the Appellant is not suspended, it will be perversity of justice and perversity of the rights of the Appellant, and thus noted –
"Undergoing the period of 9 years 6 months without having the appeal being heard and being in jail cannot be the essence of our judicial system."
The Court also observed that this is a classic case where the filing of the appeal has been rendered nugatory on account of procedural delays and lack of support to the foreigner in getting legal assistance.
In this case, an application was filed by the Appellant seeking suspension of sentence against the order of the Single Judge (NDPS Act), Patiala House Court, New Delhi under Sections 21(c)/29 NDPS Act.
The Appellant was sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1 lakh which was not paid and hence, simple imprisonment for another 6 months.
The Appellant had already undergone 9 years and 6 months and since the fine was not paid, another period of 6 months of simple imprisonment was left to be served.
It was stated that the Appellant had given an address, which on verification, was found to be non-existent.
Advocate Ajay Verma appeared for the Appellant while Sr. SC. Subhash Bansal appeared for NCB before the Court.
The Court noted, "I am of the view that in case the sentence of the appellant is not suspended, it will be perversity of justice and perversity of the rights of the appellant. Undergoing the period of 9 years 6 months without having the appeal being heard and being in jail cannot be the essence of our judicial system. 9. The appellant cannot be expected to have an address as he is a foreigner and he has been in jail for a period of 9 years 6 months."
Thus, the Court allowed the application and suspended the remaining sentence of the Appellant subject to certain terms and conditions.
Cause Title – James Pascal v. Narcotic Control Bureau