The Supreme Court bench led by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Navin Sinha and Hon'ble Mr. Justice Indira Banerjee heard an appeal which challenged the conviction of an accused under section 8 and section 18(b) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1985 which sentenced the accused to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment, along with a fine of 1 lakh. The Apex Court in this matter observed that, even though the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act carries reverse burden of proof, it doesn’t discharge the prosecution side from establishing a prima facie case against the accused in the case which has been held in the case of Hanif Khan vs. Central Bureau of Narcotics.
The Supreme Court subsequently held that in this case there has been a delay in producing the seized samples and also the signature on the seal are illegible in nature. Further, there is vacant space below the signature of the accused with that of independent witnesses which is a clear case of abnormality in the case.
Against this the prosecution contended that, there is a significant difference between producing the sample and never producing the sample in the court of law in the issue of Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report which causes no prejudice to the accused. The Court on hearing this case acquitted the accused and held that doubtful identity with regards to the sample seized from the accused and that of sample produced in court, the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report loses its importance which eventually leads to the benefit of doubt for the accused.
Tags : #NDPSAct #Reverseburden #acquittal