Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 2
In a significant judgment liable to change the way drug cases are investigated by the police, the High Court has made it clear that appropriate action was required to be taken against the erring investigating officer (IO) for not complying with the provisions of the NDPS Act.
Directions on sensitising the investigating and other officials to comply with the provisions of the Act were also reiterated.
Justice Manjari Nehru Kaul also made it clear that the directions were required to be complied with by Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, by ordering the forwarding of the order’s copy to the Chief Secretaries of the two States and Adviser to the UT Administrator. The directions came after Justice Kaul took note of the rising number of drug cases in the country.
Taking up a regular bail petition filed in a drugs case filed against the State of Haryana, Justice Kaul asserted that compliance with the provisions of the NDPS Act, in letter and spirit, was all the more critical in the present-day scenario, when cases were on the rise across the length and breadth of the country and had been wreaking havoc on society, particularly in younger generation.
Justice Kaul asserted that it was crucial so that advertently or inadvertently lapses on the investigating agency’s part or even by unscrupulous elements in some cases did not benefit the accused, who might also be involved in a large number of other cases under the Act.
Referring to law laid down by a Division Bench of the HC in the case of “Ajit Singh alias Jeeta and another versus the State of Punjab” decided on November 30, 2018, Justice Kaul asserted that the State was required to take effective steps to sensitise investigating and other officials to comply with Section 36A (4) of the NDPS Act, if for some reasons they were unable to present the challan along with the FSL report within the stipulated time of 180 days.
The HC, in Ajit Singh’s case, had ruled that a petitioner was entitled to be released on bail on the premise that the challan, without the report, would be treated to be incomplete.
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