The Bombay High Court in the case of Nayantara Gupta v. State of Maharashtra has dismissed a petition which sought for extension of time for investigation in a matter related to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 stating that it has not confirmed to the requirements mentioned in the proviso to sub-section (4) of Section 36 of the NDPS Act. The provision provides that the progress in the investigation should be disclosed for claiming extension. The extension time can be given for a period of 180 days on the report of the Public Prosecutor, wherein the ‘progress of investigation’ has to be stated along with reasons for detention.
Justice Anuja Prabhudessai of the Bombay High Court held that the personal liberty will be curtailed if an extension of time is granted and that such an order cannot be granted mechanically. It was further held that an extension of time can be granted only after due application of mind and after being satisfied with the progress in the investigation along with the report of the Public Prosecutor as to the reasons for further detention.
The petition stated that the main reason for seeking an extension of time was because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it was observed by the Court that the progress in the investigation was not stated. The Hon’ble Court held that the petition has been filed casually by the investigating officer and public prosecutor.