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NCB not empowered to investigate offences beyond NDPS Act: Manipur High Court

The Manipur High Court permitted the NCB to handover the seized arms and ammunition, sandalwood and gem stones to either the Imphal Police Station or the Moreh Police Station or any other Police Station/agency for further investigation.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 22 Nov 2022, 2:19 pm

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The Manipur High Court on Monday, setting aside a Special Court (NDPS) order which had directed Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) to take appropriate steps regarding a case, permitted the NCB to handover the seized arms and ammunition, sandalwood and gem stones to either the Imphal Police Station or the Moreh Police Station or any other Police Station/agency for further investigation.

The Narcotic Control Bureau, being aggrieved with the order of the Special Court, filed revision petition before the HC with a prayer to permit handing over the case and seized items.

On December 7, 2020, the NCB conducted search and seizure operations at two clandestine makeshift laboratories located at Ward No. 3, Moreh in Tengnoupal district.

Following the operation, the NCB seized various items like W/Y tablets, gemstones, mobile phones, currency, a double bore gun with live cartridges and sandalwood, and ice crystal.

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The NCB also registered a case against six accused found at the spot under Sections 8(c), 22(c), 27A and 29 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (for brevity, the Act of 1985).

On December 11, 2020, the NCB sought permission to handover the seized arms and ammunition, sandalwood and gem stones to either the Imphal Police Station or the Moreh Police Station or any other Police Station/Agency for further investigation before the Special Court judge.

The NCB sought permission as it was not empowered to investigate offences under any enactment other than the Act of 1985.

However, the Special Court judge held that the NCB had the power to investigate offences other than those arising under the Act of 1985 and directed it to take appropriate steps with regard to the seized arms and ammunition, sandalwood and stones according to law.

The Chief Justice of the HC considered whether the NCB has the power and jurisdiction to carry out investigation in relation to offences arising under enactments other than the Act of 1985 and pointed to the special court noted while giving directions.

“It is based on this non sequitur that the learned Special Court Judge arrived at the erroneous conclusion that the NCB would have power to investigate offences other than those arising under the Act of 1985. Neither the scheme of the Act of 1985 nor the notifications issued thereunder support such a conclusion,” the HC stated while considering the Special Court opinion.

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During the hearing, amicus curiae also submitted that there is no bar to a separate charge sheet being filed by another police station in relation to offences arising under other laws before the Special Court so that the same could be clubbed with the charge sheet filed by the NCB in relation to offences arising under the Act of 1985, so that the Special Court can try the accused for all the charged offences at the same trial, as provided in Section 36A (2) of the Act of 1985.

That is the procedure to be followed after all the offences allegedly committed by the accused, the respondents herein, are properly investigated and final reports are filed under Section 173 CrPC.

Therefore, the HC permitted the NCB, Imphal to hand over the arms and ammunition, sandalwood and gem stones etc. seized during the operations at Ward No. 3, Moreh, Tengnoupal, to the competent police station or agency for investigation of offences that may arise in connection therewith under other laws.

And also, the HC directed that appropriate action be taken by the police station/agency so that a final report can be filed before the Special Court, to be taken up along with the final report filed by the NCB.

The HC, after analysing all sections of the Act, opined that the Special Court Judge holding that the NCB is empowered to investigate offences other than those arising under the Act of 1985 is unsustainable and is accordingly set aside.

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Tags:

NDPS Actseized drugsncbManipur High Court

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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