Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of S.P Garg, J held that the sole testimony of the investigating officer cannot be grounds for convicting the accused under the NDPS Act in the absence of other evidence.

In this case, an intelligence officer, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence received a secret information on phone about two persons of certain descriptions who would arrive at a certain bus stop on Wazirabad road at about 9:00 p.m. carrying contraband. The said call was allegedly made at around 5:00 p.m. This information was recorded in writing and placed before senior officers and the complainant was directed to take necessary steps which resulted in the arrest of two persons matching the description given by the anonymous caller with around 6 kg of heroine in their possession. The DRI claims that during the arrest, two public persons joined the raiding team at about 8:30 p.m.

The Court found many discrepancies in the investigation and arrest. The Court questioned the absence of the two public persons during cross-examination. Moreover, the anonymous tip was recorded in a loose sheet of paper. Moreover, the DRI was unable to make a case as to where the accused persons had come from, where they were headed, who they were bringing the contraband for where they got the contraband from. In light of the above-mentioned circumstances surrounding the case, the Court allowed the appeal setting aside the sentence. [Mohammad Burhan v. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 10060, decided on 24.08.2017]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: The appellant in the present case was convicted under S. 15 of the NDPS Act, 1985 and was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year and thus, appealed against the sentence before the High Court.

The main contention of the petitioner was that the learned trial Court failed to appreciate this fact that recovery was affected from the appellant on a public passage but no independent witness was joined. On hearing the prayer of the appellant, Surendra Gupta, J. framed the issue in consideration that is, as to whether the testimony of official witnesses examined by the prosecution should be discarded only on the ground that it did not find independent corroboration.

The Court to answer the question arising went on to observe that it was held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Ajmer Singh v. State of Haryana, (2010) 3 SCC 746; though in cases like the case in hand, independent evidence is required, but accused cannot be acquitted merely because no independent witness produced. In light of the precedents cited, the Court held that the trial court had committed no error in law in convicting the accused and acquittal could not be granted only because no independent witness was joined.

The appellant also pleaded before the court that he was only 30 years old with no criminal antecedents and also, the sole bread earner of the family. Keeping in mind the circumstances, the Court decided to reduce the sentence from rigorous imprisonment of one year to rigorous imprisonment of 6 months. [Iqlakh Mohammad v. State of Haryana, 2017 SCC OnLine P&H 1880, decided on 3-7-2017]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: While passing the order in a criminal petition filed under Section 439 of CrPC, praying to enlarge the petitioner on bail, a Single Judge Bench of Rathnakala, J. granted bail to the petitioner as no prima facie offence could be made out against him under the NDPS Act.

The petitioner was a Nigerian national, he was in judicial custody for offences under Sections 129B, 465, 468, 471, 474, 419, 420 of IPC along with Sections 8(c), 21(b), and 22(c) of the NDPS Act, 1985. The first accused, also a Nigerian national, was already enlarged on bail. During the raid by the responded- Intelligence Officer, the accused were found in possession of cocaine and other psychotropic substances.

The Court noted that the qualitative and quantitative reports of the seized substance were not received at that stage, and it could not be said with certainty that a prima facie case under NDPS Act was made out by the prosecution. Accordingly, the petition was allowed, and the petitioner was enlarged on bail subject to the conditions imposed. [Christian Mgbeojirikwe Uzochukwu v. State of Karnataka, Criminal Petition No. 5514/2017, dated August 2, 2017]