Investigating officers, public prosecutors showing laxity in cases under NDPS Act: Kerala HC

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Kerala High Court (File photo) | Mathrubhumi

Kochi: Kerala High Court has asked the Director General of Prosecution and the Kerala State Police Chief to take appropriate action for imparting requisite training and refresher courses to the officers following the observation that the investigating officers and the public prosecutors in many cases are showing laxity in properly framing and submitting petitions under Section 36A (4) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

The Court lashed out at them and said, "Such laxity has resulted in the accused being benefited."

This observation came while the Single Bench of Justice VG Arun was considering a petition seeking the quashing of the trial court order extending the time for completion of the investigation by two months.

The petition was submitted by the accused in the case regarding NDPS Act.

The court thus allowed the petition and directed the Sessions Court to release the petitioner on bail subject to the petitioner satisfying the conditions.

The Court further observed, "The necessity of clearly setting out the twin requirements for seeking extension of detention of accused beyond 180 days cannot be overlooked or dealt with in a casual manner under any circumstance. This is an aspect that should engage the attention of the Director General of Prosecution and the Director General of Police."

In the case, the Court took note, "The emphasis of Section 167 CrPC is on completion of the investigation at the earliest. Under Section 36A(c) of the NDPS Act, the Special Court can exercise the same power which a Magistrate having jurisdiction to try a case exercises under Section 167 of the Code, has. Thus, the right to default bail of an accused in custody for the offences mentioned in Section 36A (4) would arise if the investigation is not concluded and the final report is not filed within 180 days. The proviso to Section 36A (4) also confers power on the Special Court to extend the period of 180 days up to one year. The Public Prosecutor would have to submit an application, indicating the progress of the investigation and specifying the reasons for seeking detention of the accused beyond 180 days."

The Court also said, "Even on a plain reading of the above provision, it is clear that, while the Public Prosecutor need only indicate about the progress of the investigation, he should specifically state the reason for extending the period of detention of the accused beyond 180 days. Therefore, the Public Prosecutor is not expected to state every minute detail of the investigation for the purpose of satisfying the court about the progress of the investigation. The requirement has been incorporated to ensure that the accused's valuable right to statutory bail, is not defeated in a casual manner." (ANI)

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