Criminal Trident Pack: IPC, CrPC and IEA by Sr. Adv. G.S Shukla and Adv. Raghav Arora
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  • In Kalu Sk. @ Kuran v. State, the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday directed that in cases pertaining to the recovery of narcotic substances, seizing officers must ensure to record a video of the entire procedure.
  • If in case video of the procedure cannot be recorded, the same has to be stated in the investigation records citing proper reasons. 
  • A Division Bench comprising Justices Joymalya Bagchi and Ananya Bandyopadhyay noted that in today's times, all police officers have access to smartphones and other electronic devices to record such a recovery procedure. 
  • The Bench further noted that even though carrying of video cameras for search purposes has been made mandatory by the Narcotics Control Bureau, the same is not followed by the NCB. 
  • The Bench placed reliance on the recommendations of a 2017 Committee formed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOH) in which videography of crime scenes was suggested as a must do practice. 
  • Moreover, the Court referred to the Apex Court judgement in Shafi Mohammad v. State of Himachal Pradesh, where it was held that use of videography in investigation of a crime scene is a desirable practice as it helps strengthen the law.
  • The Hon'ble Court also took note of the NDPS Act which empowers Investigating Officers with the power of search, seizure and arrest and limits the Court's power to grant bail.
  • The Court also noted that though a strict law is necessary to tackle crimes like drug trafficking, its draconian provisions must be stopped from being misused and following proper procedure is the right way to do it. 
  • In light of the Court's observations, a few guidelines were issued to be followed by the investigating officers.
  • These guidelines involved instructions such as, inter alia, recording of procedure via videography, citing proper reasons in case of failure to do the same and penalty on non-compliance with the guidelines.
  • Accordingly, the Court allowed the appeal.
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