Acquitting a Hoshiarpur resident who had been convicted in a drugs case by a trial court in 2015, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has said misuse of Narcotic Drugs and Substances (NDPS) Act is not an uncommon phenomenon and it was “practically impossible to attribute 100 per cent truthfulness to the police version.”
The judgment comes just three days before a High Court judge expressed concern with Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday in an open court regarding instances of drug planting and delay in submission of chemical analyst reports before the trial courts.
Justice Amol Rattan Singh, in the judgment delivered Monday, has said non-compliance of mandatory provisions of the law was a ground for benefit to the accused. The contraband shown to be recovered from the accused was different than what had been sent for the chemical analysis in the case.
“In my opinion, attributing 100 per cent truthfulness to the statements made by police officers, though would be an ideal situation and actually should be so, practically it is not possible to attribute such complete honesty to them always, because like all human beings, not all police officials can be honestly accepted to be truthful all the time, even though the intention behind any particular arrest, may not be malafide, which of course at times could also be so,” the judgment reads.
Kulwinder Kumar, in June 2015, had been convicted under Section 22 of the NDPS Act and sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment. Police had claimed to have recovered 170 gm of ‘intoxicant powder’ from his pocket in 2013 during a random patrolling. While the police in the FIR claimed the powder to be ‘Amphetamine’, the Forensic Sciences Laboratory had found it to be ‘Diphenoxylate’. There were only official witnesses in the case.
Kulwinder’s counsel had told the High Court that the FIR was “false” and no contraband had been recovered from him by the police. He had also argued that the police team had been in a private vehicle with no record of it in the DDR and even there was no independent witness to corroborate the Police story.
The High Court in the judgment said that the Magistrate, before whom the contraband was produced, had simply recorded that the case property was sealed and not opened it for verification. The accused also had not been searched in front of a gazetted officer or Magistrate in accordance with the provisions of law, the court said.
“Very unfortunately, misuse of the provisions of the Act is not an uncommon phenomena, even though the misuse is very often used by the prosecuting/investigating agency to try and ensure that petty criminals are ‘put out of circulation in society’ for a longer period of time,” the judgment reads, while stressing on the need for implementation of mandatory provisions of NDPS Act.