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Customs, New Delhi v. Ahmadalieva Nodira, (2004) 3 SCC 549
CITATION(2004) 3 SCC 549
DATE OF HEARING11th March 2004
COURTThe Supreme Court of India
APPELLANTCustoms, New Delhi
RESPONDENTAhmadalieva Nodira
BENCHS. Rajendra Babu, Arijit Pasayat, and G.P. Mathur


Customs, New Delhi vs. Ahmadalieva Nodira, 2004 was the case related to the granting of bail to the accused namely, Ahmadalieva Nodira, who was originally Uzbek national and arrived in India as to do trade of garments and she got caught red handedly with big sum of Diazepam (5mg tablets). The Customs authorities had taken her into custody after recovering those drugs from her ownership. In 2004, the relief was given in the form of bail to the international lady by the High Court of Delhi.


In case of Customs, New Delhi v. Ahmadalieva Nodira the appellant, Ahmadalieva Nodira, an Uzbek national, was apprehended by the customs authorities on April 4, 2000, at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi with the huge quantity of Diazepam (5mg tablets), which was seized under Narcotics Drugs Act, 1895, by Police. 

Nodira was arrested on April 5, 2000, and in the statement under Section 67 of the NDPS Act, 1985, she accepted that Diazepam (5mg tablets) belongs to her in a statement. Then she filed the application of bail but the Special Court denied her bail, bringing up the stringent circumstances under Section 37 of the NDPS Act.

Nodira challenged the bail rejection by the Special Court in the Delhi High Court, that whether or not the seized Diazepam drugs were certified as a psychotropic substance underneath the Act. The High Court’s choice was in actuality based on the shortage of conclusive proof from the prosecution to demonstrate that the substance met the chemical criteria indexed inside the NDPS Act’s schedule.

The customs authorities went to the Supreme Court to declare null and void the decision of allowing the bail to Nodira. The Supreme Court expressed disappointment on High Court for denying statutory restrictions on bail under section 37 of the NDPS Act so that making it difficult to find out that the accused is not guilty and is not likely to commit any crime when released on bail. The intervention of the Supreme Court also underscored how important it is for States to strictly implement the provisions of the NDPS Act.


  1. Does Diazepam, 5 mg tablets come under the classification of a “psychotropic substance” under the framework of the NDPS Act?
  2. Was the Delhi High Court ruling compliant with what Section 37 of the NDPS Act specifies with respect to bail?
  3. Can one say that the “reasonable grounds” for believing that the accused is not always guilty were well thought out?
  4. Used the High Court correctly to compare the evidentiary cost of the Central Control Laboratory’s report?
  5. Were the High Court’s decision making and the legislative scenario underpinning the stringent bail provision of the NDPS Act aligned?


  1. The appellant was also of the reason that the Delhi High Court failed to observe the strictities of Section 37 of the NDPS Act, which deals with the grant of bail in cases relating to the narcotic pills and other psychotropic materials.
  2. Section 37 provides that an application for bail cannot be allowed without affording reasonable opportunity to show cause against the release of the accused on bail the court is satisfied that there is reasonable likelihood that the accused is not a guilty person and is not going to commit any offense while he is on bail.
  3. The appellant argued that the High Court overlooked the fact that admissibility of a report from the “Central Control Laboratory” vindicated information that the seized Diazepam drugs matched to outlines contained in the Schedule of the NDPS Act.
  4. The appellant also noted that had the laboratory document been considered significant weight would have been given to the determination that the seized substance was a psychotropic substance under the Act.
  5. The interesting to the appealing party sought to submit that the High Court of Dehli erred in not adequately weighing the reasonable grounds as basis to presume the accused person behind the offence.
  6. The appellant said that the term “reasonable grounds” infers something additional than prima facie grounds and calls for huge in all probability reasons, which were now not appropriately examined by way of the High Court. 
  7. The appellant here pointed the legislative policy being followed by the central Act in relation to the stringent provision made for grant of bail under the NDPS Act directing the need to contain drug abuse and trafficking.


  1. The respondent also submitted that the prosecution failed to provide the court with sufficient evidence as to why the confiscated Diazepam capsules fell under the definition of a “psychotropic substance” under the NDPS Act.
  2. Nodira argued that, the evidence that has been produced, which include the document of the Central Control Laboratory, does no longer adequately serve to reveal the usage of the seized substance to the chemical standards indexed with inside the Schedule of the NDPS Act.
  3. The respondent pointed to procedural violations inside the case supervised by the customs authorities, the acting of the respondent’s detainment and arrest no longer meet strict requirements of jail.
  4. The argument that the correct ways of seizing, recording, and managing the proof were not followed raised serious questions about the reliability of the prosecution’s evidence.
  5. Nodira stressed that there were rational motives which the High Court might consider in this case and she does not commit offense.
  6. She said that the evidence towards her was based on her personal statement, which got recorded underneath pressure and without proper prison outline, therefore wondering its admissibility and reliability.
  7. The respondent also raised a number of issues on health and medical grounds and humanitarian reason of her detention.
  8. She contended that her detainment was inflicting excessive harm to her bodily and mental fitness, and given the questionable evidence against her, continued detainment become unjust and inhumane.
  9. Explaining the nature of her defence, Nodira pointed out, though the objectives of the NDPS Act encompass preventing consumption and circulation of unlawful contraband substances, it has to equally protect character rights and avoid juvenile males and females who do not deserve it from suffering penalties.
  10. Respondent stated that the ruling of the High Court to provide bail was in line with her individual freedom when there are inadequate and doubtful evidence against her. The respondent argued that the prosecution didn’t offer conclusive proof that the seized Diazepam capsules qualified as a “psychotropic substance” below the NDPS Act.


The Supreme Court of India delivered a pivotal judgment in the landmark case of Customs, New Delhi v. Ahmadalieva Nodira, addressing the stringent provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act). The Supreme Court declared null and void the Delhi High Court’s order granting bail to Ahmadalieva Nodira, an Uzbek lady accused of possessing a huge quantity of Diazepam, a controlled substance below the NDPS Act.

The Supreme Court as a consequence thereof held that the High Court was incorrect in awarding bail now not by adhering to the above particular situations which are laid down in Section 37 of the NDPS Act. This segment makes it vital that bail may be maximum suitably granted best when the public prosecutor is provided an possibility to oppose the bail utility and the court docket can be glad that there exist enough material to reveal that the accused is not responsible of the offence and isn’t possibly to devote any offence even as on bail. The Court pointed out that the expression “reasonable grounds” very much enshrines something much more profound than the basic reasons that would be sufficient to make a prima facie case, as they are comprehensive and most likely cause.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court criticized the High Court for no longer nicely evaluating the evidentiary price of the Central Control Laboratory’s document, which confirmed that the seized Diazepam tablets met the chemical criteria listed beneath the NDPS Act. The judgment underscored the necessity of strict compliance with the NDPS Act’s provisions to save you drug abuse and trafficking, reflecting the legislative intent behind the stringent bail situations.

The Supreme Court’s ruling reinforced the precept that in instances involving narcotic drugs and psychotropic materials, the judiciary should ensure thorough compliance with statutory requirements to uphold the regulation’s integrity and motive. This judgment serves as an important precedent for destiny instances underneath the NDPS Act, highlighting the balance among legislative purpose and judicial scrutiny.


Customs officials stopped Ahmadalieva Nodira, an Uzbek subject, who arrived in India for the purpose of commercial garments. A large quantity of the 5mg tablets was found from her possession on April 4, 2024. During Investigation of the case under the section 37 of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1985, she admitted that recovery of Drug tablets was done from her possession. She was arrested on 5th of April, the year two thousand. Nodira applied for bail and was rejected straight away from the special court meant for this purpose. After this she moved to the High Court against the order of special court and successfully got partial relief in the shape of ‘Bail’ granted by Delhi High Court. The Customs authorities appealed to the bail decision of the Delhi High Court, which was given to Ahmadalieva Nodira. The Supreme Court allowed the bail given by the Delhi High Court although it considered the prima facie offence charges made by the accused. The judgment on March 11, 2004 was based on the embargo in terms of Section 37 of the NDPS Act and actual admission of the accused in connection with the recovery of the tablets.


The Supreme Court of India in Customs, New Delhi v. Ahmadalieva Nodira (2004) 3 SCC 549 reinforced the stringent stance on illegal importation of narcotics, emphasizing the need for rigorous enforcement of customs laws. The Court upheld the penalties imposed on the respondent, affirming that strict measures are essential to deter drug trafficking and protect national security. This landmark judgment highlights the judiciary’s commitment to maintaining stringent control over narcotic substances, ensuring compliance with legal standards, and safeguarding societal welfare.


  1. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1026836/

This Article is written by Syed Sumair Ahmed Shah student of Institute of Law (University of Sindh); Intern at Legal Vidhiya.

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