The division bench of Supreme Court presided by Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Navin Sinha in the case of Gurmail Chand Vs. State of Punjab stated that the NPDS proceedings will not be vitiated merely on the ground that there was a non-compliance with the procedure that is laid down u/s 57 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act,1985).
The present case is the appeal from the Punjab and Haryana High Court I which the accused i.e Gurmail Chand was found with 10 kg of opium and was convicted under section 18 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act,1985). The Accused was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of 10 years and to pay a fine of Rs.1,00,000/-(Rupees One Lakh) in default of payment of the same, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for another period of one year. One of the contention that the counsel for the Accused raised is that there is violation of Section 57 of the NDPS Act, since the report was not sent to the Higher Official within the period as prescribed, which has vitiated the entire proceeding.
After considering the submissions made by the parties, the Supreme Court is of the opinion that, “the said provision is not to be interpreted to mean that in event the report is not sent within two days, the entire proceeding shall be vitiated. The provision has been held to be directory and to be complied with but mere not sending the report within the said period cannot have such consequence as to vitiate the entire proceeding.” Also, the Supreme Court relied on the judgement passed in the case of Sajan Abraham vs. State of Kerala which stated that a non-compliance of section 57 of the NDPS Act would not vitiate the proceedings. Therefore, not finding any merit in the present case, the Supreme Court dismiss the appeal.
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Link to judgment: Gurmail chand v. State of Punjab