In a recent judgment, the Supreme Court reiterated that the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) does not mandate the presence of an independent witness alone to establish charges under its provisions. This assertion came in response to a case where the appellant was convicted under Section 15 of the NDPS Act for possessing 54 kgs of poppy husk.
The appellant contended that only police witnesses testified, emphasizing the absence of an independent witness. Additionally, they argued that they were not in conscious possession of the contraband and raised procedural irregularities concerning the CFCL (Contemporaneous Failure Certificate of Liquor) form, asserting its non-compliance during the seizure and recovery process.
The State countered the arguments, highlighting the thorough consideration of all aspects by the lower courts. It also pointed out that the trial court imposed the minimum sentence of 10 years of rigorous imprisonment on the appellant.
However, the Supreme Court, presided over by Justices M MSundresh and Aravind Kumar, dismissed the appeal, rejecting the appellant’s contentions. The Court emphasized that the law does not mandate the exclusive reliance on an independent witness to establish charges under the NDPS Act.
The Apex Court concurred with the lower courts, affirming procedural compliance regarding the arrest, seizure, and recovery. It highlighted the competency of PW-3 to gather evidence and the presence of PW-7, a gazetted officer, during the recovery from the car. The Court upheld the views expressed by the lower courts, asserting that the absence of filling the CFCL form at the arrest site did not vitiate the case, deeming it a part of procedural law.
The judgment in the case titled “Jagwinder Singh v. State of Punjab, Criminal Appeal No. 2027 of 2012” emphasized the sufficiency of police witnesses and officers in establishing charges under the NDPS Act. It underscored the courts’ acceptance of procedural compliance and evidence gathered during the arrest and recovery process.
This ruling underscores the significance of procedural adherence and the competent gathering of evidence by law enforcement agencies in NDPS Act-related cases. It elucidates that while independent witnesses might strengthen a case, their absence does not invalidate charges if procedural requirements are met and corroborative evidence is presented.
The Supreme Court’s stance highlights the legal approach toward establishing charges under the NDPS Act, emphasizing the substantiality of procedural adherence and the competency of police witnesses. It signifies the Court’s recognition of procedural law and the flexibility in its application, ensuring that the absence of specific documentation does not invalidate cases when other evidentiary elements substantiate the charges.
This judgment, with its detailed examination and affirmation of lower court decisions, stands as a precedent elucidating the necessity of compliance with procedural requirements and the reliance on competent witnesses for establishing charges under the NDPS Act.