Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Sanjay Karol and Ajay Mohan Goel, JJ., decided a public interest litigation-writ petition, wherein it held that the benefits of remission in sentence cannot be provided to convicts under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985.
A letter petition was addressed to the Court by the convicts undergoing imprisonment in various jails of the State for offences punishable under the NDPS Act. The petitioners alleged discrimination and inaction on the part of Authorities in granting remission in sentence to such convicts. The Court took suo moto cognizance, and issued notice to the State. The Director General of Prisons (Himachal Pradesh) filed a reply submitting that such convicts were not entitled to benefit of remission in view of the provisions contained in the NDPS Act itself.
In order to settle the controversy, the Court perused various provisions of the Act and relying on decision of the Supreme Court in Tara Singh v. Union of India, (2016) 11 SCC 335; held that the petitioners do not have a right to seek remission under the Code of Criminal Procedure because of Section 32-A of the NDPS Act. However, they can seek relief either under Article 72 or 161 of the Constitution, as the case my be. Section 32-A provides that notwithstanding anything in the CrPC, no sentence awarded under the NDPS Act (other than Section 27), shall be suspended or remitted or commuted.
The Court was satisfied with the response filed by the State and consequently, closed the proceedings. [State of H.P., In re, 2018 SCC OnLine HP 265, order dated 6.3.2018]