Punjab and Haryana High Court | FSL report forms the foundation of NDPS cases; its absence renders Section 173 CrPC report insufficient

Punjab and Haryana High Court: While deciding the criminal revision petition, a single judge bench of Gurvinder Singh Gill, J., granted bail to the petitioner and held that the report of the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL report) forms the foundation of the case of prosecution under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (“NDPS Act”) and in case the same is not there the entire case of prosecution falls to ground.


The petitioner was found in possession of 15 grams of “Heroin” and a FIR was lodged against the petitioner under NDPS Act. The police submitted a report under section 173 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) before the trial Court on 07-04-2022. The said report was, however, not accompanied by the report of FSL. The period of 60 days, which is mandated for filing of challan in cases of recovery of non-commercial quantity, as per provisions of the NDPS Act read with section 167 of CrPC expired on 10-04-2022. Since the prosecution did not file the FSL report even by the said date, the petitioner moved an application under section 167(2) of CrPC for his release on bail on the ground that in the absence of report of FSL, the challan could not be said to be complete. The said application was dismissed by the trial court which has been assailed by way of filing this petition.

The Court said that a case under the NDPS Act can only survive in case the prosecution is able to establish that the article recovered is indeed a contraband and which can only be established on the basis of its chemical examination, which is normally got done through FSL established by the Government. In other words, the report of the FSL forms the foundation of the case of prosecution and in case the same is not there the entire case of prosecution falls to ground.

The Court further noted that in other cases say any injury or hurt or murder case under IPC, even the ocular version coupled with some medical evidence or some other circumstantial evidence may suffice to bring home the guilt of the accused. Though, a report of an expert, if sought, pertaining to some blood stains or comparison of handwriting, ballistic report, could be helpful to establish the case of the prosecution for such offences under IPC or some other acts but cannot be said to be indispensable in each and every case and even in the absence of such reports, the prosecution may well be able to establish its case. But in the case the report of FSL form very foundation of the case of prosecution and is an integral part of the challan for offences under NDPS Act cannot be brushed aside

The Court further placed reliance on Mohd. Arbaz v. State (NCT of Delhi), Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) Nos. 8164-8166/2021, and granted bail to the petitioner under section 167(2) of CrPC.

[Mukesh Pal  v. State of Haryana, 2022 SCC OnLine P&H 3650, decided on 29-11-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

L.S. Sekhon, Advocate, Counsel for the Petitioner;

Abhinash Jain, Advocate, Counsel for Respondent.

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