While emphasizing that that the NDPS Act was enacted in the year 1985 because the then existing enactments were not found sufficient or they had become out dated to take care of the menace of Narcotic Drugs, the Bombay High Court held that this Act was enacted with an object to consolidate and amend the law relating to Narcotic Drugs to make stringent provisions for the control and regulation of operations relating to Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and to provide for forfeiture of property derived from and used in illicit traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

Noting that certain mandatory provisions of the NDPS Act have been enacted to avoid misuse of the crime and to provide for ample checks and balance, which can also be traced to Section 59, the Single Judge Bench of Justice G.A Sanap observed that, “when it is found by any Court at any stage of proceeding that the actionable wrong within the meaning of Section 59 of the N.D.P.S. Act has been committed then in that event it has to be approached and dealt with firmly by initiating an appropriate action”.

Advocate A.M. Jaltare appeared for the Applicant, whereas, APP A.M. Chutke appeared for the Respondent.

Going by the background of the case, a Single Judge Bench had issued a direction for registration of First Information Report against the applicant on the ground that he caused undue delay in filing chargesheet against the accused who was facing charges under the NDPS Act. This act of the applicant extended the benefit to the accused to apply for default bail, resulting in an offence punishable under Section 59(1) of the NDPS Act, according to the Special Judge. Hence, present revision application has been filed contending that the Special Judge has exceeded his power while passing such order.

After examining the submission, the High Court observed that the Special Judge was well within his power and has not exceeded his jurisdiction.

With respect to contention made by the applicant that the Special Judge is not entitled to direct the IG to obtain sanction as required by the law, the High Court observed that the Special Judge merely issued a direction for filing of the crime, and sanction from the Central Government or State Government is dependent on the result of the investigation.

Hence, the High Court clarified that, “unless and until the Courts at every stage takes serious view of such a matter, the police officer would not improve. It is to be noted that investigation is the most important part of the criminal justice system. The fate of entire case of prosecution depends upon the quality of the investigation. It is, therefore, high time to send an appropriate message to all concerned, as and when the Court is confronted with such a case”,

Accordingly, the High Court found that the approach of the Special Judge under the NDPS Act is consistent with the object and spirit of the enactment, and concluded that quality of investigation being one of the factors for dismal rate of conviction, the approach of the Special Judge is highly courageous and commendable.

Cause Title: Ashish Devidas Morkhade v. State of Maharashtra

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