Srinagar, Aug 12: The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh dismissed bail plea of farmers for cultivating poppy seeds in their respective lands on the ground that these farmers are involved in a very heinous crime.
Noting that the petitioners are avoiding their arrest, the court held that it would not come to the rescue of a person and grant him bail in anticipation of his arrest if the said person is dodging the investigating agency.
The court was hearing a bail plea filed by the group of farmers of village Chee, Anantnag seeking bail in anticipation of their arrest in an FIR for offences under Section 8/15, 25 of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act registered at police station, Anantnag.
As per the FIR, on May, 24, 2021 Executive Magistrate, Anantnag, along with officials of police post, General Bus Stand during patrolling and checking of the village found that some farmers have grown poppy plants in their lands in order to earn huge amount of money from poppy straw which is used for making contraband drugs.
It stated that during the course of investigation one kg poppy straw (green) was seized and sealed.
Perusing the material on record, the court recorded that Section 8 of the NDPS Act prohibits cultivation of Opium Poppy and Section 15 of the said Act provides for punishment for contravention in relation to cultivation of Poppy Straw.
It underscored that the Act provides that anybody producing the Poppy Straw in contravention of the
provisions of the said Act or in contravention of the conditions of the license granted under the said Act is punishable depending upon the quantity of the Poppy Straw.
The court pointed out that the petitioners do not claim that they have cultivated the Poppy Straw under any permission or license from the competent authority. Their only contention is that the plants of Poppy Straw have grown on their lands of their own.
The bench underscored that this question is a subject matter of investigation but the material collected by the investigating agency does prima facie suggest that the petitioners have grown plants of Poppy Straw on their respective lands.
"Therefore, there is prima facie material on record to connect the petitioners with the alleged crime," the court said.
It further pointed out that not only the seeds of the poppy plant that were found on the land of the petitioners but it is a case where the whole plant was found to have been grown on the land of the petitioners.
The bench noted that all parts, excepting the seeds, of the poppy plant, which is species of Papaver would fall within the definition of “Poppy Straw”.
Justice Dhar further recorded that the investigating agency has been unable to apprehend the petitioners even though the FIR in the case has been registered more than one year back.
The bench noted that the petitioners are avoiding their arrest and they are not cooperating with the investigating agency.
It recorded that it is a settled law that the court would not come to the rescue of a person and grant him bail in anticipation of his arrest if the said person is dodging the investigating agency.
"Having regard to the fact that there is enough material on record to connect the petitioners with the alleged crime coupled with the fact that the petitioners are involved in a very heinous crime and they are not cooperating with the investigating agency, they do not deserve the concession of anticipatory bail from this Court," the bench said while dismissing the bail ple