{Drug seizures} Forensic reports integral part of challan: HC

The HC bench observed that it is only forensic reports with the challan that can establish that the article recovered in indeed a contraband
The prosecution did not file forensic reports in a challan filed before the HC in an NDPS case. (HT File)
The prosecution did not file forensic reports in a challan filed before the HC in an NDPS case. (HT File)
Published on Oct 16, 2021 09:40 PM IST
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Chandigarh Forensic reports in drugs seizure cases form the foundation of the prosecution’s arguments and if these are not there, its (the prosecution’s) case falls to ground, the Punjab and Haryana high court has said.

The bench of justice Gurvinder Singh observed that no doubt the Supreme Court has held that a challan, even if not accompanied by a report of the chemical examiner or of the expert, cannot be said to be incomplete. “However, it needs to be highlighted that the said cases did not pertain to an offence under the NDPS Act. A case under the NDPS Act can only survive in case the prosecution is able to establish that the article recovered is indeed a contraband, and which can only be established on the basis of its chemical examination,” the bench said.

The court was hearing a bail plea from one Vinay Kumar from Sirsa arrested in December 2020. Police claimed that Kumar, driving a tractor abruptly tried to deviate upon seeing police party. When stopped, 7,000 Tramadol Hydrochloride tablets were recovered. The challan was presented before the trial court on March 4, 2021 but without the report of chemical examiner.

The period of 180 days, which is mandated for filing of challan as per provisions of NDPS Act expired on June 20, but the prosecution did not file the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report. He filed for bail on June 22 on the ground that in the absence of the report of FSL, the challan could not be said to be complete. The trial court, however, dismissed this report.

The court said that in other cases say any injury or hurt or murder case under the IPC, even the ocular version coupled with some medical evidence or some other circumstantial evidence may suffice to bring home the guilt of the accused. But cannot be said to be indispensable in each and every case and even in the absence of such reports, the prosecution may well be able to establish its case. “ ..the contention of the petitioner that the report of FSL form very foundation of the case of prosecution and is an integral part of the challan cannot be brushed aside (in NDPS cases),” the bench said quashing the trial court order and allowing bail to the accused after almost nine months.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021