Physical analysis not prescribed under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act for testing the opium: Supreme Court

Physical analysis not prescribed under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act for testing the opium: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ruled that physical analysis is not prescribed under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act for testing the opium.

Background 

The instant appeal, by way of special leave, is directed against order passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh whereby the High Court dismissed the appeal filed by the appellant.

Arguments 

The appellant contended that the prosecution has not been able to prove the case beyond any reasonable doubt as there was no independent witness in the present case. He further argued that mandatory provisions of Section 50 of the Narcotic, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act were not complied with and he was neither searched nor told of his right of being searched before the Gazetted Officer or the Magistrate. 

The respondent State submitted that the appellant was searched in the presence of S.P., District Moga, who is a gazetted officer, as per the provisions of Section 50 of the NDPS Act, and it was found that the appellant was carrying 4kg. of opium and 20gms were taken as sample. Thereafter, the Chemical Examiner, after the completion of necessary investigation, confirmed that the substance was opium. 

Decision 

The three judge bench of the Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli noticed that the report of the Chemical Examiner indicates that some powder material/ chura was tested.

The court noted that the physical nature of the material is not relevant for determining whether the contents of the sample analyzed were actually opium or not, and physical analysis is not prescribed under the provisions of the NDPS Act for testing the opium. These aspects of the matter have been appropriately adverted to by the Sessions Judge in arriving at his conclusion. The same has been reappreciated and confirmed by the High Court.

The court while dismissing the appeal ordered that consequent upon dismissal of the appeal filed by the appellant, the bail bonds stand cancelled and directed him to surrender before the trial court to serve out the remaining period of sentence.

Case title: Sukhdev Singh v/s The State of Punjab

Citation: CRIMINAL APPEAL No.1004 OF 2016

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