Necessary to break supply chain of narcotics, says HC

Dismisses bail of plea of NDPS accused.

Concerned about drug peddling cases, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, while dismissing the bail pleas of four accused held in NDPS cases, said it was “necessary to break supply chain of the narcotics responsible for spoiling our youth in the country”.

The bench of Justice Anil Kshetarpal, was hearing the regular bail petitions of Kanhaiya, Sukhpal Singh and Tejpal, and pre-arrest bail petition of Gautam Dass, who were arrested on January 21 this year under Section 17 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, at Odhan police station, Sirsa district, Haryana. In a search, 6.5 kg opium was allegedly recovered from a black polythene bag in possession of Gauri Shankar.

The counsel for the petitioners contended that the gazetted officer from the department of panchayats, was not authorised and therefore the proceedings of search and seizure was in violation of Section 50 of the Act of 1985.

They further contended that on completion of the investigation, the challan has been presented on June 26, 2020 and, therefore, the petitioners be released on bail as the conclusion of the trial is likely to take a lot of time.

The HC after going through the matter held that Section 50 of the Act of 1985 refers to Sections 41, 42 and 43 of the Act. On careful reading of Section 42, it is apparent that the Parliament while enacting the Act did specify that the gazetted officers before whom the search can be carried out must be posted in some particular department(s) enlisted therein.

Apart from enlisting certain departments in Section 42, the Parliament uses the phrase ‘any other department’ of the central or state government. Thus, the gazetted officer can be from any department. Only requirement is that he should be empowered in this behalf by general or special order by the central or state government.

Regarding the contention of the petitioner’s counsel that on completion of investigation, challan has been presented, therefore, the petitioner should be granted concession of bail, the High Court stated that “recovery in the present case falls in the category of commercial quantity as notified by the government…The recovery in the present case is way more than the quantity from where commercial category starts…”

Thus while declining the plea of bail, Justice Kshetarpal said, “In these cases, custodial interrogation plays significant role because it is necessary to break supply chain of the narcotics responsible for spoiling our youth in the country.”

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