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Possession Of Drugs Mentioned Under Section 18 Of The NDPS Act Has To Be Conscious In Nature

Sai Krishna ,
  25 May 2022       Share Bookmark

Court :
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Brief :

Citation :
CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS.451-452 OF 2005

Case Title:
Ram Singh Vs Central Bureau of Narcotics

Date:
28 April, 2011

Bench:
JUSTICE CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD

Parties:
Appellant – RAM SINGH
Respondent – CENTRAL BUREAU OF NARCOTICS

Subject

An appeal was filed by the appellant challenging his conviction and sentence passed by the High Court under section 18 of the NDPS Act stating that it was impugned as necessary evidence to support the conviction was not available.

Important Provisions

Section 25 of Evidence act – Confession to police officer not to be proved.

Section 173 of the Code of Civil Procedure – Report of police officer on completion of investigation.

Section 18 of the NDPS Act – Punishment for contravention in relation to opium poppy and opium.

Overview

  • Abdul Mazid, the district Opium officer recovered 2.1 kgms of opium from a room next to the kitchen of a hotel from a secret information received.
  • The appellants (the servant at the hotel) statement was recorded by the Deputy commissioner of Narcotics who had also seized the opium and drawn the seizure memo.
  • The appellant’s statement was taken wherein he confessed that the opium was brought by him. Another confessional statement of the appellant wherein he stated that the opium was brought by him to the hotel from the hotel owners house on his order.
  • The confessional statements made to the Central Bureau of narcotics were taken as evidence and the appellant was convicted under section 8 read with section 18 of the NDPS Act with rigorous imprisonment for 10 years and Rs. 1 lakh fine.

Issues raised

  1. Whether confessional statements can be taken as evidence if it was made before the Central bureau of Narcotics officers?
  2. Whether the conviction of the appellant for possession of opium was right in nature?

Advancements made by the appellants

The learned counsel for appellants stated that two evidences made by the appellant are not admissible in evidence and also it was not voluntary and not corroborated with any evidence.

Judgment Analysis

The court stated that the as per Section 25 of the evidence act the confessional statements made to police officers were inadmissible as evidence. The officers of central bureau of narcotics did not come under the meaning of police officers under section 25 and 26 of the Evidence Act as they only had the power to investigate and not the power to submit the report under Section 173 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The same was also established in the case of Raj Kumar Karwal Vs. Union of India.

The court stated that to hold a person guilty of possession of drugs it had to be ascertained that the possession was conscious. Here the servant cannot be held guilty possession over the drugs belonging to the owner unless it’s proven that the servant had absolute control. There was no evidence to support that the appellant had complete control over the drugs. Thereby it was difficult to hold the appellant guilty of possession of those drugs.

Conclusion

The court concluded by allowing the appeal made by the appellant and stated that the judgment provided by the lower court was impugned as to no evidence was available to ascertain that the appellant had complete possession over the drugs and convicting him of the same was wrongful in nature. Thereby the impugned judgement of conviction and sentence was set aside.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Learn the practical aspects of CrPC HERE, CPC HERE, IPC HERE, Evidence Act HERE, Family Laws HERE, DV Act HERE

 
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