Pendency in NDPS trials sees 50% jump in a year

As opposed to 104 cases in 2017, as many as 219 NDPS cases are pending as of June.

punjab Updated: Jul 26, 2018 11:21 IST
Aneesha Bedi
Aneesha Bedi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
NDPS,trials,Congress
Lawyers say the increase in registration of NDPS cases by the Chandigarh police has led to a larger number of trials.(HT File Photo)

Even as the Captain Amarinder Singh’s Congress government has renewed its focus on Punjab’s drug menace, the state capital has its own share of issues.

Besides increase in cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, the pendency of such cases at the Chandigarh district courts has risen by over 50% in the past one year, according to data accessed by HT.

As opposed to 104 cases in 2017, as many as 219 NDPS cases are pending as of June. April 2018 alone saw 29 new cases. Of the 104 cases last year, 67 have been decided, seeing 43 convictions and 24 acquittals.

The trials in NDPS cases are carried out in subordinate and superior courts, including the courts of judicial magistrate first class and additional district and sessions judges. An individual charged under the NDPS Act can face imprisonment up to 10 years.

Lawyers say the increase in registration of NDPS cases by the Chandigarh police has led to a larger number of trials.

The city has witnessed a jump of over 400% in crime from 2010 to 2017, as per a report prepared by the Administrator’s Advisory Council in April this year.

According to official records, drug cases have gone up from 48 in 2010 to 244 in 2018. This combined with arrests of 250 people are the highest in the past two decades.

With drugs increasingly becoming easily available, the Punjab and Haryana high court in October 2017 had directed the UT administration to make public the particulars of pharmacy shops in the city and upload them on the health department website.

Besides linking the high pendency of trials to increase in cases registered, advocate Harish Bhardwaj at the District Courts believes it also has to do with a 2008 government’s notification where commercial quantity of drugs was also included in the NDPS Act, laying emphasis on the quantity over purity of drug recovered.

“A lot of times, no independent witness is produced by the prosecution, which can also lead to long trials,” he adds.

Yadwinder Singh Sandhu, another advocate at the district courts, alleged that cops were also falsely implicating people to show increase in their performance.

“The same story is always repeated, about how a naka was laid and someone was found carrying drugs. Somewhere down the line, what police do has a direct bearing on the court and evidence,” he added.

First Published: Jul 26, 2018 11:21 IST