The Bombay high court on Wednesday transferred the case of Gulam Mohammed Malik, a convicted drug peddler, back to a special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act court and asked the court to reconsider the death sentence awarded to him in 2007.
The NDPS Act awards a death sentence to peddlers convicted a second time for selling a commercial quantity of contraband material. The special court had awarded Malik a death sentence on his second conviction. However, on June 21, the high court observed that the trial courts have the discretion to alternatively award a life sentence in special cases.
In view of this decision of the high court, a division bench of justice BH Marlapalle and justice UD Salvi transferred Malik’s case back to the special NDPS Court and asked them to take a fresh decision on his sentence. The bench directed the special court to hear both sides – the prosecution and the defence – and pass their verdict within three months.
In the first week of January 2002, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had seized a truck loaded with 142 kg of hashish in Ahmedabad. A case was registered against Malik, a resident of Kashmir, as documents found in the truck indicated that 55 kg of the contraband was to be delivered to him.
On January 14, 2002, officials from the Mumbai unit of NCB tracked Malik to his Dongri residence where they found additional 1.8 kg of hashish. After interrogating Malik, they found another 188 kg of hashish stashed in a godown at Andheri. Following this, a second case was registered against Malik in Mumbai.