21 November 2022


Judgments

Supreme Court

Boota Singh vs. The State Of Haryana

MANU/SC/0283/2021

16.04.2021

Narcotics

Private vehicle would not come within the expression “public place” as explained in Section 43 of the NDPS Act

Present appeal challenges the judgment and final order passed by the High Court dismissing appeal preferred by the Appellants and affirming their conviction and sentence under Section 15 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (“the NDPS Act”). The Trial Court by its judgment acquitted accused Major Singh but convicted accused Boota Singh, Gurdeep Singh and Gurmohinder Singh, under Section 15 of the NDPS Act and sentenced them to suffer rigorous imprisonment for 10 years with imposition.

Appellant submitted that, the vehicle in question was a private vehicle belonging to accused Gurdeep Singh and was not a public conveyance, though parked on a public road. As accepted by PW4 Inspector, the secret information was not recorded in writing nor any grounds were recorded for not obtaining the requisite search warrants. The instant case would not be come under Section 43 of NDPS Act but would be governed by the provisions of Section 42 of the NDPS Act.

The evidence in the present case clearly shows that, the vehicle was not a public conveyance but was a vehicle belonging to accused Gurdeep Singh. The Registration Certificate of the vehicle, which has been placed on record also does not indicate it to be a Public Transport Vehicle. The explanation to Section 43 of NDPS Act shows that, a private vehicle would not come within the expression “public place” as explained in Section 43 of the NDPS Act. On the strength of the decision of this Court in State of Rajasthan vs. Jagraj Singh alias Hansa , the relevant provision would not be Section 43 of the NDPS Act but the case would come under Section 42 of the NDPS Act. It is an admitted position that, there was total non-compliance of the requirements of Section 42 of the NDPS Act.

The decision of this Court in Karnail Singh vs. State of Haryana as followed in Jagraj Singh alias Hansa is absolutely clear. Total non-compliance of Section 42 of NDPS Act is impermissible. The rigor of Section 42 may get lessened in situations dealt with in the conclusion drawn by this Court in Karnail Singh but in no case, total non-compliance of Section 42 of NDPS can be accepted. In the circumstances, the Courts below fell in error in rejecting the submissions advanced on behalf of the Appellants. The Appellants be released forthwith unless their custody is required in connection with any other offence. Appeal allowed.

Tags : Conviction Compliance Provision

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