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Union of India Versus Mohanlal

2016 (5) TMI 500 - SUPREME COURT

Procedure for search, disposal or destruction of the narcotics and the remedial steps that need to be taken to plug the loopholes, if any. - Apex Court issued the directions as:

(1) No sooner the seizure of any Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic and Controlled Substances and Conveyances is effected, the same shall be forwarded to the officer-in-charge of the nearest police station or to the officer empowered under Section 53 of the Act. The officer concerned shall then approach the Magis .....

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ppropriate steps to set up storage facilities for the exclusive storage of seized Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic and Controlled Substances and Conveyances duly equipped with vaults and double locking system to prevent theft, pilferage or replacement of the seized drugs. The Central Government and the State Governments shall also designate an officer each for their respective storage facility and provide for other steps, measures as stipulated in Standing Order No. 1/89 to ensure proper security .....

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issued by us in the body of this judgment under the heading ‘disposal of drugs’. - Criminal Appeal No. 652 of 2012 - Dated:- 28-1-2016 - T.S. Thakur, CJI and Kurian Joseph, J. Shri Ranjit Kumar, SG, Ajit Kumar Sinha, AC, A.K. Panda, Sr. Advocate, Ms. Binu Tamta, Ms. Sushma Manchanda, Pravesh Thakur, Manish Vashishtha, D.S. Mahra and Shreekant N. Terdal, Advocates with them, for the Appellant. Shri Sharwan Dogra, AG, Suryanarayana Singh, Sr. Addl. Adv. Gen., Gopal Singh, Riturak Biswas, Sibo Sank .....

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to be followed for seizure, sampling, safe keeping and disposal of the seized Drugs, Narcotics and Psychotropic substances is being followed throughout the country. It was also contended that Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue, Government of India, has in terms of a Circular dated 23rd February, 2011 impressed upon the Chief Secretaries and the concerned police heads of the State Governments to ensure that instructions given and the procedure prescribed in the Standing Order aforementio .....

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2. On 3rd July, 2012 this Court after hearing the Amicus Curiae prima facie came to the conclusion that the procedure prescribed for the destruction of the contraband seized in different States was not being followed resulting in a very piquant situation in which accumulation of huge quantities of the seized drugs and narcotics has increased manifold the chances of their pilferage for recirculation in the market. This Court also noted a report published in the timesofindia.indiatimes.com un .....

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The position was, according to Mr. Sinha, no better in other States especially those situate along the international borders. It was argued by the Amicus Curiae that without proper data from the authorities concerned, it was not possible to take stock of the magnitude of the problem no matter challenges posed by rampant drug abuse had acquired alarming proportions affecting the youth, some of whom are driven to commission of crimes on account of deleterious effects of drug abuse. 3. It was .....

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upon the Directors General of Police for a report to be forwarded through the Registrars General of the High Courts of the States concerned who were appointed Nodal Officers for that purpose. Registrars General were also asked to independently secure from the District and Sessions Judges concerned in their respective States, answers to the queries specified under the head Judicial Supervision . Chiefs of Central Government Agencies viz. Narcotics Control Bureau, Central Bureau of Narcotics, Dire .....

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years and in what quantity? Provide yearwise and districtwise details of the seizure made by the relevant authority. (ii) What are the steps, if any, taken by the seizing authorities to prevent damage, loss and pilferage of the narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances (natural and synthetic) during seizure/transit? (iii) What are the circulars/notifications/directions/guidelines, if any, issued to competent officers to follow any specific procedure in regard to seizure of contrabands, their st .....

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) What are the steps taken at the time of storage to determine the nature and quantity of the substance being stored and what are the measures taken to prevent substitution and pilferage from the stores? (iv) Is there any check stock register maintained at the site of storage and if so, by whom? Is there any periodical check of such register? If so, by whom? Is any record regarding such periodic inspection maintained and in what form? (v) What is the condition of the storage facilities at presen .....

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uantity? Provide yearwise and districtwise details of the destruction made by the relevant authority. If no destruction has taken place, the reason therefor. (ii) Who is authorised to apply for permission of the court to destroy the seized contraband? Has there been any failure or dereliction in making such applications? Whether any person having technical knowledge of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances (natural and synthetic) is associated with the actual process of destruction of the c .....

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oint of storage to point of destruction? (vi) Is there any specified facility for destruction of contraband in the State? If so, a list of such facilities along with location and details of maintenance, conditions and supervisory bodies be provided. (vii) If a facility is not available, where is the contraband sent for destruction purposes? Under whose supervision and what is the entire procedure thereof? (viii) Is any record, electronic or otherwise prepared at the site of destruction of the co .....

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urt or the Registry of the High Court? If so, has any action on the subject being taken for timely inspection and destruction of the drugs? (iii) Are there any pending applications for destruction of drugs in the district concerned, if so, what is the reason for the delay in the disposal of such application? (iv) What level officers including the judicial officers are associated with the process of destruction? (v) At what stages are the Magistrates/judicial officers/any other officer of the cou .....

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ry. From a perusal of the reports so received the position that emerges in regard to disposal/destruction of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substance qua each State for the last 10 years may be summarised as under : Details of seizure and disposal of drugs (State wise) 1. Andhra Pradesh Item Total Quantity Seized (in 10 years) Total Quantity Destroyed (in 10 years) Difference Ganja 2,20,977.191 kg 3910.70 Kg 217066.491 kg (98.23%) Opium 22.925 kg 0 22.925 kg (100%) Charas 6.5 kg 0 6.5 kg ( .....

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years) Difference Ganja 45 kg 0 45 kg Heroin 3.74 kg 0 3.74 kg Charas 48.853 kg 0 48.853 kg Poppy Straws 100 kgs 0 100 kgs Methqualone 1676 kgs 0 1676 kgs Note : No destruction of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances have taken place at Patna Zonal Unit. 4. Chhattisgarh Item Total Quantity Seized (in 10 years) Total Quantity Destroyed (in 10 years) Difference Ganja 1,03,622.140 kg 3281.570 kg 1,00,340.57 (96.77%) Cannabis Plants 52478 (Nos.) 380 (Nos.) 52098 (Nos) (92.7%) Brown S .....

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yed more than seized Hashish 77350.076 kg 12298.578 kg Destroyed more than seized Cocaine 640.569 kg 0 640.569 kg (100%) 6. Chandigarh Item Total Quantity Seized (in 10 years) Total Quantity Destroyed (in 10 years) Difference Contraband By relevant authorities 3205.623 kgs 900.179 kgs 2305.444 kgs (71%) Morphine 58.393 kg 190kg + 88930 Pcs. Injections 58.203 kg (99.6%) Heroine 1658.099 kg 739.687 kg 918.412 kg (55.3%) Ganja 484124.056 kg 8,43,008.559 kg Destroyed more than seized Hashish 77 .....

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ntity Seized (in 10 years) By relevant authorities Total Quantity Destroyed (in 10 years) Difference Contraband (Hashish, Cocaine, Ganja, Heroin, etc.) 52944.577 kg 32443.456 kg 20500.601 (38.72%) Contrabands (Chemical Sub-stances in Tablets, Injections) 1020669 0 1020669 (100%) 8. Daman and Diu The UT Daman and Diu has informed the Total quantity by way of a detailed chart : Item Total Quantity Seized (in 10 years) By relevant authorities Total Quantity Destroyed (in 10 years) Difference C .....

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ision of the type has been provided. The total destruction in the last 10 years however is only 132.375 kg. The total amount of Contraband still in custody of the authorities is 28207.672 kgs, i.e., 99.53% of the seized amount. The response of the NCB Zonal Unit is as follows : Item Total Quantity Seized (in 10 years) Total Quantity Destroyed (in 10 years) Difference Charas 1421.14 kg 15.056 kgs 1406.084 kg (98.9%) Opium 17.505 kg 0 17.505 kg (100%) Brown Sugar 2.03 kg 0 2.03 kg (100%) Heroin 3. .....

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msp;Haryana Item Total Quantity Seized (in 10 years) Total Quantity Destroyed (in 10 years) Difference Ganja 2604.077 kg 521.133 kg 2082.944 kg (79%) Charas 7252.513 kg 533.46 kg 6719.053 kg (92.64%) Opium 1086.387 kg 1972.860 Destroyed more than seized Smack 8200.00 kg 4169.919 kg 4030.081 kg (49.14%) Heroine 1.046 kg 1.300 kg Destroyed more than seized Brown Sugar 2.001 kg 1.003 kg 998 kg (49.87%) Cocaine .325 kg 0 .325 kg (100%) 13. Himachal Pradesh The State of Himachal Pradesh has info .....

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rala Item Total Quantity Seized (in 10 years) Total Quantity Destroyed (in 10 years) Difference Ganja 7588.543 Kg 2740.926 kg 4847.617 kg (63.88%) Heroine .536 kg 0 .536 kg (100%) Hashish 12.368 kg 0 12.368 (100%) Charas .063 kg 0 .063 kg (100%) Brown Sugar 8.432 kg 12.058 kg Destroyed more than seized Opium 23.697 kg 0 23.697 kg (100%) 16. Karnataka The State of Karnataka divided its response in two parts. One is seizure by Police and the other is seizure by NCB Item Total Quantity Seized .....

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9 kg (100%) 18. Manipur Item Total Quantity Seized (in 10 years) Total Quantity Destroyed (in 10 years) Difference Heroin 37.534 kg. 12.498 kg 25.036 kg (66.072%) Ganja 45343.25 kg 41963.389 kg (Kindly refer to the Note) 3379.861 kg (7.45%) Opium 233.985 kg 0 233.985 kg (100%) Hashish 3.05 kg 0 3.05 kg (100%) Note : The Total amount of Ganja seized post 2005 was 25913.225 kgs and the same is still lying with the authorities since the last pretrial disposal in 2005. 19. Madhya Pradesh M .....

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t authorities 5344.12 Kgs. 4476.482 kgs 867.638 (16%) 21. Orissa Orissa has divided its response in two parts. One is seizure by Police and the Other is seizure by Excise Officials. Item Total Quantity Seized (in 10 years) Total Quantity Destroyed (in 10 years) Difference Contraband By Police 0.000 By Police - 88241.741 kgs 88241.741 kgs (100%) By Excise 0.000 By Excise 34520.854 kgs (100%) 34520.854 kgs (100%) 22. Punjab Item Total Quantity Seized (in 10 years) Total Quantity Destroye .....

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%) Charas 935.602 kg 1192.309 Destroyed more than seized Ganja 176289.677 kg 2578.712 kg 174250.965 kg (98.84%) Poppy Straw 99684.05 kgs 1,34,652.55 kg Destroyed more than seized. 24. Sikkim Item Total Quantity Seized (in 10 years) By relevant authorities Total Quantity Destroyed (in 10 years) Difference N-10 Capsure 9156 ** 9156 (100%) Spasmo Proxyvon Capsule 277367 ** 277367 (100%) Corex/Phensi-dylere codex 3033 ** 3033 (100%) Others ** 203.92 gms. ** The State Government of Sikkim has re .....

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38 kg 29.262 kg (96.25%) Hash Oil 10 kg 1 kg 9 kg (90%) Tidigesic inj. 13627 vials 4095 vials 9532 vials (69.94%) Norphine 112 amps 0 112 amps (100%) Bosikka 9 0 9 (100%) Diazepam 9.085 kg + 2706 vials 4.51 (kg or vial not sure) Poppy Cap/Straws 246.75 kg 125.05 kg 121.7 kg (49.32%) Avil 350 tabs + 55 vials 0 350 tabs + 55 vials 26. Tripura Item Total Quantity Seized (in 10 years) Total Quantity Destroyed (in 10 years) Difference Ganja 9178.8 2642.5 kg 6536.3 kg (71.21%) Ganja Dust 436 kg 8 .....

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65 kg 1035.275 kg 2622.79 kg (71.69%) Brown Sugar 51.455 kg 1.1 kg 51.355 kg (99.8%) Posta Drug 16224.591 kg 5081.988 kg 11,142.603 kg (68.67%) 28. Uttarakhand Item Total Quantity Seized (in 10 years) Total Quantity Destroyed (in 10 years) Difference Charas 1252.091 kg 330.459 kg 921.632 kg (73.60%) Doda 6783.765 kg 330.459 kg 6453.306 (95.12%) Opium 28.899 kg 1.859 kg 27.04 kg (93.567%) Heroine 154.454 kg 0 154.454 kg (100%) Intoxi-cating Tablets 22413 Nos. 4668 Nos. 17745 Nos. (79.17%) Ga .....

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destruction. 5. In regard to the storage of NDPS substances, the State Governments and the Central Agencies have furnished information which the learned Amicus Curiae has tabulated as under : Annexure D Delhi Govt. Gujarat Govt. Guwahati Govt. Yes, specified store for storage of the seized contraband in Delhi Zonal Unit. No specific store. NBC Guwahati Zonal Unit is running from a rented house and one secured room is earmarked as storage place. Imphal Govt. Mizoram Govt. Tripura Govt. Stor .....

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orage of competent Court after chargesheet is filed. Himachal Pradesh Govt. Chhattisgarh Govt. Andhra Pradesh Govt. No specified area. No separate storage. No specified area. Rajasthan Govt. Sikkim Govt. Uttarakhand Govt. No specific store. No storage. No specific store. Jharkhand Govt. Kerala Govt. Karnataka Govt. No specific store. No specific storage. No notified store. Madhya Pradesh Govt. Orissa Govt. Bihar Govt. Yes, NCB Zonal Unit Indore has well-secured specific maalkhana (Submissions by .....

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l Excise Directorate of Revenue Intelligence No Specific storage space. No specific storage is available No specific store of its own. NCB, Jodhpur Zone NCB, Chandigarh Zone West Bengal Yes, But no sub-zone available. A separate room has been specified for storage of seized contraband. The seized goods are stored in Police Station Malkhana under the charge of a designated Police Officer and supervision of officer in charge of Police Station. 6. Similarly, in answer to the query as to the st .....

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ovt. Gujarat Govt. Guwahati Govt. Imphal Govt. Mizoram Govt. Tripura Govt. Proper entry in malkhana register and malkhana incharge and properly locked and guarded @ Pg. 10 of Delhi Govt. submission Writer head of Police station maintains muddamal register which has complete details. All subsequent withdrawal and redisposition are also reflected in the muddamal register @ Pg. 2 of Gujarat Govt. submission Complete process of classification and weighing of drugs along with measures of prevention o .....

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Pradesh Govt. Maharashtra Govt., Goa and Daman Diu. Himachal Pradesh Govt. Chhattisgarh Govt. Andhra Pradesh Govt. General duty of detecting officer to weigh, seal the contraband with signatures of civilian witnesses with proper entry in register and lock it. @pg. 7 Annex-A-2 of Meghalaya Govt. Submission/ ….. Acc. To Report of Comm. Of Customs @ Pg. 67 : Stored in Central Godown in safes and vaults with double locking system under command of a Gazetted Officer. After Seizure the concerne .....

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ements and its custody. @ pg. 8. Daman & Diu and Dadar & Nagar Haveli : there are very remote chances of substitution/pilferage as the stored goods are subject to periodical inspection. Page 9 of the Response NDPS is seized by investigating officer. After samples are taken, the same is seized by I.O. affixing his own seal and later resealed by SHO before consigning it to the safe custody in police malkhana of the Police Station. @ Pg. No. 3 of HP Govt. submission. Details of all steps to .....

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for storage are used according to quantity and nature of the contraband. @ Pg. No. 2 of submission by Rajasthan Govt. NDPS is packed and sealed under stamp of IO and nature and quantity recorded in presence of individual witnesses. Page 11 of the Response. NDPS sample is sent to forensic laboratory. For preventing substitution, details entered into station diary of the concerned police station. Complete safety measures mentioned in Annex-3 with the govt. submission. Page 5 of the Response Mater .....

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njab Govt. Haryana Govt. Chandigarh Govt. By NCB Indore Zonal Office. Seized contraband wrapped in transparent polythene and then in white cloth before sealing and signing it. Quality and amount of seized drug is also mentioned in the packet. @ Pg. 5 of submissions by M.P. Govt. By police heads of districts : A seizure memo is again prepared u/s 55 of NDPS Act at the time of storage in the police station malkhana and sealed by Station House Officer. Necessary entries are made in the Rojnamcha an .....

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submission by Bihar Govt. Police officials deployed at all NDPS Maalkhana stores. Case property register No. 19 is maintained. Procedure as per and Punjab Police Rules, 1934. Inspection by gazette officers. @ pg. nos. 16 and 17 of submission by Punjab Govt. Weekly and fortnightly reports obtained from all concerned regarding seized/ storage of NDPS. Stock Register is maintained by field units and periodical checking is done. @ pg. 121 of submission of Haryana Govt. Seized contraband is safely ke .....

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ble for appropriate action to prevent substitution and pilferage. As per Govern-ment of India Notification, circular 1/89 page 3 of the Response. The seized goods are stored lot wise and stored under proper lock and key under the supervision of ITBP Guard. No one other than the store in charge is authorized to enter the store. Page 6 of the Response. The seized contraband is deposited in the godown/ malkhana on the basis of the particulars mentioned in the seizure memo/panchnama. Proper and secu .....

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aff mentioned in the reports. Another question that was asked from the State Governments and the Central Agency relates to the condition of the storage facilities, shortage of storage facilities, if any, and whether any steps have been taken or are being taken to remove the deficiencies. Answers to those queries suggest that no proper storage facilities are available in most of the States. For instance, in Gujarat no special storage facility is available for keeping the contraband, which is, the .....

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ion as to any specific storage facility being earmarked for the purpose has been provided. In Tripura the enforcement branch is said to be maintaining the malkhana used for storage of contrabands. In Himachal Pradesh there is no storage facility except an old building used for the purpose, while in Chhattisgarh the storage facility is satisfactory but not sufficient for bulk storage. Similarly, Rajasthan has scarcity of storage facility. Jharkhand has no separate storage facility at all whereas .....

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Zonal Office, Chandigarh has reported insufficiency of space and has started the process for construction of a specified storage facility. Customs and Central Excise Authority has reported that their godown is full and no more space is available. 9. In answer to the question as to who is authorised to apply to the Court to destroy the seized contraband and whether there has been any failure or dereliction in making such applications and whether any person having technical knowledge of narco .....

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roy the contraband. In answer to the question whether any action has been taken against anyone who should have applied for permission to destroy the narcotics but had not done so, State Governments have all answered in the negative implying thereby that either no dereliction of duty has occurred on the part of any officer competent to apply for destruction or no action has been taken for any such dereliction. 10. Similarly, regarding the steps taken at the time of destruction to determine t .....

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re prescribed or followed in that regard. Having said that we must mention that we are in these proceedings concerned with the following three issues only for the present : (i) Seizure and sampling of the Narcotic drugs and Psychotropic substances (ii) their storage and (iii) their destruction Seizure and sampling : 11. Section 52A(1) of the NDPS Act, 1985 empowers the Central Government to prescribe by a notification the procedure to be followed for seizure, storage and disposal of drugs a .....

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ples must be taken from the seized contrabands on the spot at the time of recovery itself. It reads : 2.2 All the packages/containers shall be serially numbered and kept in lots for sampling. Samples from the narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances seized, shall be drawn on the spot of recovery, in duplicate, in the presence of search witnesses (Panchas) and the person from whose possession the drug is recovered, and a mention to this effect should invariably be made in the panchnama dra .....

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of the statutory provisions which ought to be strictly observed given the seriousness of the offences under the Act and the punishment prescribed by law in case the same are proved. We propose to deal with the issue no matter briefly in an attempt to remove the confusion that prevails regarding the true position as regards drawing of samples. 12. Section 52A as amended by Act 16 of 2014, deals with disposal of seized drugs and psychotropic substances. It reads : Section 52A. Disposal of sei .....

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heir seizure, be disposed of by such officer and in such manner as that Government may from time to time, determine after following the procedure hereinafter specified. (2) Where any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance has been seized and forwarded to the officer-in-charge of the nearest police station or to the officer empowered under section 53, the officer referred to in sub-section (1) shall prepare an inventory of such narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances containing such detai .....

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he correctness of the inventory so prepared; or (b) taking, in the presence of such Magistrate, photographs of such drugs or substances and certifying such photographs as true; or (c) allowing to draw representative samples of such drugs or substances, in the presence of such Magistrate and certifying the correctness of any list of samples so drawn. (3) When an application is made under sub-section (2), the Magistrate shall, as soon as may be, allow the application. (4) Notwithstanding .....

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the contraband the same has to be forwarded either to the officer in-charge of the nearest police station or to the officer empowered under Section 53 who shall prepare an inventory as stipulated in the said provision and make an application to the Magistrate for purposes of (a) certifying the correctness of the inventory (b) certifying photographs of such drugs or substances taken before the Magistrate as true and (c) to draw representative samples in the presence of the Magistrate and certifyi .....

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samples will then be enlisted and the correctness of the list of samples so drawn certified by the Magistrate. In other words, the process of drawing of samples has to be in the presence and under the supervision of the Magistrate and the entire exercise has to be certified by him to be correct. The question of drawing of samples at the time of seizure which, more often than not, takes place in the absence of the Magistrate does not in the above scheme of things arise. This is so especially when .....

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s and the standing order issued by the Central Government is evident when the two are placed in juxtaposition. There is no gainsaid that such a conflict shall have to be resolved in favour of the statute on first principles of interpretation but the continuance of the statutory notification in its present form is bound to create confusion in the minds of the authorities concerned instead of helping them in the discharge of their duties. The Central Government would, therefore, do well, to re-exa .....

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e making of the application to the superior officer in writing so that there is a certain amount of accountability in the entire exercise, which as at present gets neglected for a variety of reasons. There is in our opinion no manner of doubt that the seizure of the contraband must be followed by an application for drawing of samples and certification as contemplated under the Act. There is equally no doubt that the process of making any such application and resultant sampling and certification .....

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to the application and do the needful, within a reasonable period and without any undue delay or procrastination as is mandated by sub-section (3) of Section 52A (supra). We hope and trust that the High Courts will keep a close watch on the performance of the Magistrates in this regard and through the Magistrates on the agencies that are dealing with the menace of drugs which has taken alarming dimensions in this country partly because of the ineffective and lackadaisical enforcement of the laws .....

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erned. There is no provision nor was any such provision pointed out to us by learned counsel for the parties prescribing the nature of the storage facility to be used for storage of the contraband substances. Even so the importance of adequate storage facilities for safe deposit and storage of the contraband material has been recognised by the Government inasmuch as Standing Order No. 1/89 has made specific provisions in regard to the same. Section III of the said Order deals with Receipt of Dru .....

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drugs invariably be stored in safes and vaults provided with double-locking system. Agencies of the Central and State Governments, may specifically, designate their godowns for storage purposes. The godowns should be selected keeping in view their security angle, juxtaposition to courts, etc. 3.3 Such godowns, as a matter of rule, shall be placed under the overall supervision and charge of a Gazetted Officer of the respective enforcement agency, who shall exercise utmost care, circumspectio .....

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shall hand acknowledged over such to the Investigation Officer of the case along with the case dossiers for further proceedings. 3.5 The officer-in-charge of the godown, before accepting the deposit of drugs, shall ensure that the same are properly packed and sealed. He shall also arrange the packages/containers (case-wise and lot-wise) for quick retrieval, etc. 3.6 The godown-in-charge is required to maintain a register wherein entries of receipt should be made as per format at Annex .....

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nd returns, as they may deem fit, to monitor the safe receipt, deposit, storage, accounting and disposal of seized drugs. 3.9 Since the early disposal of drugs assumes utmost consideration and importance, the enforcement agencies may obtain orders for pre-trial disposal of drugs and other articles (including conveyance, if any) by having recourse to the provisions of sub-section (2) of Section 52A of the Act. It is evident from a plain reading of Para 3.2 (supra) that storage of all drugs i .....

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, circumspection and personal supervision over the storage facilities. The provision contained in paras 3.5, 3.6, 3.7 and 3.8 also are aimed at ensuring that the godown or storage facility is satisfactory and those in-charge of the same are made accountable for its upkeep and effective management. Subsequent Notification including Notification dated 16th January, 2015 have in no way diluted the above requirement. The result is that there is a statutory framework which governs the storage of drug .....

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Courts for storage of the seized drugs in certain cases and in certain circumstances. The Customs and Central Excise Department and DRI have also stated that they have no designated storage facility for storage of contraband. The position in the States is no different. Due to non-availability of any designated godown-facility with adequate vaults and double lock system, the seized contraband is stored in police maalkhana which is a common storage facility for all kinds of goods and weapons seiz .....

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ontrols prescribed in Section III of the said order. The result is that while Standing Order No. 1/89 very early in point of time recognized the need for providing adequate and effective storage facilities by the States and the Central Government agencies, the failure on the part of the Central Government and the State Governments to provide for such storage has defeated, if not completely negated the very purpose underlying the said notification and the provisions made therein. There is as on d .....

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tate Governments in realizing the importance of the storage facilities and in providing for the same to prevent hazardous and at times lethal substances with great potential to do harm to those who use the same from being replaced, pilfered, stolen or siphoned out on account of very poor supervision, control or invigilation over such storage facilities. The learned amicus has in that view very rightly argued that there is a complete failure on the part of the Central Government and its agencies .....

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uess and if it is still lying in the police maalkhana, why has nobody ever bothered to apply for their disposal according to the procedure established by law is hard to fathom. The fact that the States and the Central Government agencies have accepted that no specific register is maintained by the State Police and that general maalkhana register alone is being maintained for the seized drugs shows the neglect of all concerned towards this important aspect and the cavalier manner in which the iss .....

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es and seminars have very often shown that the menace is deep rooted not only because drug lords have the money power and transnational links but also because the enforcement agencies like the Police and at times politicians in power help them in carrying on what is known to be a money spinning and flourishing trade. We only hope that the failure of the Central Government agencies and the State Governments in providing what is the bare minimum in terms of infrastructure required to arrest the gr .....

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issue appropriate directions to the Central Government agencies and to the States to set up adequate storage facilities with effective supervisory and regulatory controls as prescribed in Notification No. 1/89. Disposal of Drugs : 17. Section 52A as amended provides for disposal of the seized contraband in the manner stipulated by the Government under Clause 1 of that Section. Notification dated 16th January, 2015 has, in supersession of the earlier Notification dated 10th May, 2007 not onl .....

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the said Notification. 18. Sub-para (2) of Para (4) provides that after the Magistrate allows the application under sub-section (3) of Section 52A, the officer mentioned in sub-para (1) of Para (4) shall preserve the certified inventory, photographs and samples drawn in the presence of the Magistrate as primary evidence for the case and submit details of seized items to the Chairman of the Drugs Disposal Committee for a decision by the Committee on the question of disposal. The officer shal .....

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items. In terms of proviso to Para (8) if the consignments are larger in quantity or of higher value than those indicated in the table, the Drugs Disposal Committee is required to send its recommendations to the head of the Department who shall then order their disposal by a high level Drugs Disposal Committee specially constituted for that purpose. Para (9) prescribes the mode of disposal of the drugs, while Para (10) requires the Committee to intimate to the head of the Department the programm .....

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in terms supersede Standing Order No. 1/89 insofar as the said Standing Order also prescribes the procedure to be followed for disposal of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic and Controlled Substances and Conveyances. Specific overriding of the earlier Standing Order would have avoided a certain amount of confusion which is evident on account of simultaneous presence of Standing Order No. 1/89 and Notification dated 16th January, 2015. For instance in Para (1) of Standing Order No. 1/89 only certai .....

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cerned but also in relation to the procedure that the DDC would follow while directing disposal. In both the notifications are prescribed the limits upto which the disposal could be directed. In case of excess quantity the disposal under the Standing Order No. 1/89 had to be done in the presence of the head of the Department whereas according to notification of 2015 in the event of excess quantity or value the disposal has to be by a high level Drug Disposal Committee to be constituted by the he .....

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ject we make it clear that disposal of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic and Controlled Substances and Conveyances shall be carried out in the following manner till such time the Government prescribes a different procedure for the same : (1) Cases where the trial is concluded and proceedings in appeal/revision have all concluded finally : In cases that stood finally concluded at the trial, appeal, revision and further appeals, if any, before 29th May, 1989 the continued storage of drugs and Narcot .....

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icult if not impossible to fix the responsibility for such theft, replacement or pilferage at this distant point in time. That apart, the storage facility available with the States, in whatever satisfactory or unsatisfactory conditions the same exist, are reported to be over-flowing with seized contraband goods. It would, therefore, be just and proper to direct that the Drugs Disposal Committees of the States and the Central agencies shall take stock of all such seized contrabands and take steps .....

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nd availability in the market. (2) Drugs that are seized after May, 1989 and where the trial and appeal and revision have also been finally disposed of : In this category of cases while the seizure may have taken place after the introduction of Section 52A in the Statute book the non-disposal of the drugs over a long period of time would also make it difficult to identify individuals who are responsible for pilferage, theft, replacement or such other mischief in connection with such seized contr .....

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nd the conditions prevalent in the maalkhanas and the so-called godowns and storage facilities. The DDCs shall accordingly take stock of all such Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic and Controlled Substances and Conveyances in relation to which the trial of the accused persons has finally concluded and the proceedings have attained finality at all levels in the judicial hierarchy. The DDCs shall then take steps to have such stock also destroyed under the direct supervision of the head of the Departm .....

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en without any further loss of time. 20. To sum up we direct as under : (1) No sooner the seizure of any Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic and Controlled Substances and Conveyances is effected, the same shall be forwarded to the officer-in-charge of the nearest police station or to the officer empowered under Section 53 of the Act. The officer concerned shall then approach the Magistrate with an application under Section 52A(ii) of the Act, which shall be allowed by the Magistrate as soon as .....

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