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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

NDPS Act - Sec.23 and 29 - trial court acquitted under sec. 29 but convicted under sec. 23 of NDPS Act - failure to prove transport from foreign land - High court set aside the conviction as the prosecution failed to prove that the alleged Ganja was imported from foreign country - interpretation of the words " import and export inter state and import and export out of India or Transhipment of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance " - Apex court held that the High court rightly acquitted the accused and dismiss the appeal = Union of India …Appellant Versus Sheo Shambhu Giri …Respondent = 2014 (March.Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41332

    NDPS Act - Sec.23 and 29 - trial court acquitted under sec. 29 but convicted under sec. 23 of NDPS Act - failure to prove transport from foreign land -  High court set aside the conviction as the prosecution failed to prove that the alleged Ganja was imported from foreign country - interpretation of the words " import and export inter state and import and export out of India or Transhipment  of  any narcotic  drug  or  psychotropic  substance " - Apex court held that the High court rightly acquitted the accused and dismiss the appeal = 
The sole respondent  along  with  two  other  accused  was  tried  for
offences under Sections 23 and 29 of the NDPS Act.  The  trial  court  found
the respondent herein guilty of an offence under Section 23 of the NDPS  Act
but found that the charge under Section 29 of the Act is not proved  against
him. He was, therefore, convicted for an offence under  Section  23  of  the
NDPS Act and sentenced to undergo RI for 10 years and also to pay a fine  of
Rs. 1 lakh for an offence under Section 23 of the NDPS Act.

4.    The High Court, allowed the appeal of the  respondent  and  set  aside
his conviction under Section 23 of the NDPS Act.  Relevant  portion  of  the
judgment reads as follows:-
          “17.   So far as appellant Sheo Shambhu Giri of Cr. Appeal No. 359
          of 2003 is concerned he has also assailed his conviction  on  many
          grounds  including  that  the  Ganja  was   recovered   from   his
          possession.   
His submission was also that though he  was  charged
          under sections 23 and 29 of the act but  he  was  acquitted  under
          Section 29 of the act and was not  considered  to  be  a  part  of
          conspiracy and admittedly he was only a carrier at the instance of
          other persons.   
As such his punishment under section  23  of  the
          Act is also not tenable in the eye of law.    
That  apart  it  has
          been submitted that the ingredients of section 23 of  the  Act  is
          not attracted in this case because there is no evidence  to  prove
          that the Ganja was  imported  from  foreign  land.    
As  per  the
          wording of the section there must be import of the  contraband  to
          attract punishment under this section but  the  prosecution  could
          not prove that the Ganja was of foreign origin.   
Even prosecution
          could not prove whether the substance so seized was actually Ganja
          or not because no chemical examination report has been produced in
          the court in original  form  neither  the  chemical  examiner  was
          examined to prove them.   
It has  also  been  submitted  that  the
          mandatory provision of, sections 42, 52 and 57 of the act has  not
          been strictly  complied  with.    
That  apart  it  has  also  been
          submitted that there is no  independent  witness  to  support  the
          recovery of contraband and the prosecution failed to examine them.
            Only independent witness is a witness to Panchnama (Ext. 18)” =

On the other hand, the learned counsel for  the  respondent  submitted
that Section 23 of the NDPS Act creates three offences  and  they  are;  (i)
import into India, (ii) Export out of India; and (iii) Transhipment  of  any
narcotic  drug  or  psychotropic  substance.    If  any  one  of  the  three
activities is undertaken in contravention of any one of  the  provisions  of
the Act or the Rules made thereunder or in contravention of  an  order  made
or condition of licence or permit granted or  certificate  or  authorization
issued either under the Act  or the  Rules.    The  explanation  “tranships”
occurring under Section 23 must necessarily be understood in the context  of
the scheme of the Section and the  preceding  expressions  of  “import  into
India” and “export out of India” to mean only transhipment for  the  purpose
of either import into India or export out of India. =

 “9. Power of Central Government to permit, control and regulate.
           -(1) Subject  to  the  provisions  of  section  8,  the  Central
           Government may, by rules-


           (a) permit and regulate-
           (i)  the  cultivation,  or  gathering  of  any   portion   (such
           cultivation or gathering being only on account  of  the  Central
           Government) of coca plant, or the production, possession,  sale,
           purchase, transport, import inter-State, export inter-State, use
           or consumption of coca leaves;
           (ii) the cultivation (such cultivation being only on account  of
           Central Government) of the opium poppy;
           (iii) the production and manufacture of opium and production  of
           poppy straw;
           (iv) the sale of opium and opium derivatives  from  the  Central
           Government factories for export from  India  or  sale  to  State
           Government or to manufacturing chemists;
           (v) the manufacture of manufactured drugs (other, than  prepared
           opium) but not including manufacture of medicinal opium  or  any
           preparation containing  any  manufactured  drug  from  materials
           which the maker is lawfully entitled to possess;
           (vi) the manufacture, possession, transport import  inter-State,
           export  inter-State,  sale,  purchase,  consumption  or  use  of
           psychotropic substances;
           (vii)  the  import  into  India  and  export  from   India   and
           transhipment of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances;
           (b) prescribe any other matter requisite to render effective the
           control of the  Central  Government  over  any  of  the  matters
           specified in clause (a)”


9.    It can be seen from the language  of  the  Section  that  the  Central
Government is authorized  to  make  rules  which  may  permit  and  regulate
various activities such as cultivation, gathering,  production,  possession,
sale, transport, inter state import or export  of  various  substances  like
coca leaves, poppy straw, opium poppy and opium derivatives etc., while  the
Parliament used the expression  transport  in  the  context  of  inter-state
import or export of such material in sub-Section 1(a)(vi),  in  the  context
of importing to India and export  out  of  India,  Parliament  employed  the
expression transhipment in Section 9(i)(a)(vii).

10.   Therefore, the High Court rightly concluded  that  the  conviction  of
the respondent under Section 23 of the NDPS Act cannot  be  sustained.    We
see no reason to interfere with the same.

11.   In view of such conclusion, we do not deem  it  necessary  to  examine
the correctness  of  other  conclusions  recorded  by  the  High  Court  for
acquitting the respondents.   The appeal is, therefore, dismissed.

2014 (March.Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41332

                                                             Reportable


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                      CRIMINAL  APPEAL NO. 1027 OF 2008



Union of India                                     …Appellant

                                  Versus
Sheo Shambhu Giri                                  …Respondent







                               J U D G M E N T



Chelameswar, J.


1.    Aggrieved by the judgment in Criminal Appeal No. 359 of  2003  of  the
High Court of Patna, the instant appeal is preferred by the Union of India.

2.    By the judgment under appeal, three appeals came to  be  preferred  by
the three different accused who were convicted for different offences  under
the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act,  1985  (for  short  “the
NDPS Act”) by the Court of  5th  Additional  District  and  Sessions  Judge,
Mothari of East Champaran District in Excise Case No.  31  of  2001  by  its
judgment  dated  12th  June,  2003.  By  the  judgment  under  appeal,   the
conviction of all the appellants was  set  aside.   It  is  not  very  clear
whether any appeals are preferred against the acquittal  of  the  other  two
accused except the respondent herein.

3.    The sole respondent  along  with  two  other  accused  was  tried  for
offences under Sections 23 and 29 of the NDPS Act.  The  trial  court  found
the respondent herein guilty of an offence under Section 23 of the NDPS  Act
but found that the charge under Section 29 of the Act is not proved  against
him. He was, therefore, convicted for an offence under  Section  23  of  the
NDPS Act and sentenced to undergo RI for 10 years and also to pay a fine  of
Rs. 1 lakh for an offence under Section 23 of the NDPS Act.

4.    The High Court, allowed the appeal of the  respondent  and  set  aside
his conviction under Section 23 of the NDPS Act.  Relevant  portion  of  the
judgment reads as follows:-
          “17.   So far as appellant Sheo Shambhu Giri of Cr. Appeal No. 359
          of 2003 is concerned he has also assailed his conviction  on  many
          grounds  including  that  the  Ganja  was   recovered   from   his
          possession.   His submission was also that though he  was  charged
          under sections 23 and 29 of the act but  he  was  acquitted  under
          Section 29 of the act and was not  considered  to  be  a  part  of
          conspiracy and admittedly he was only a carrier at the instance of
          other persons.   As such his punishment under section  23  of  the
          Act is also not tenable in the eye of law.    That  apart  it  has
          been submitted that the ingredients of section 23 of  the  Act  is
          not attracted in this case because there is no evidence  to  prove
          that the Ganja was  imported  from  foreign  land.    As  per  the
          wording of the section there must be import of the  contraband  to
          attract punishment under this section but  the  prosecution  could
          not prove that the Ganja was of foreign origin.   Even prosecution
          could not prove whether the substance so seized was actually Ganja
          or not because no chemical examination report has been produced in
          the court in original  form  neither  the  chemical  examiner  was
          examined to prove them.   It has  also  been  submitted  that  the
          mandatory provision of, sections 42, 52 and 57 of the act has  not
          been strictly  complied  with.    That  apart  it  has  also  been
          submitted that there is no  independent  witness  to  support  the
          recovery of contraband and the prosecution failed to examine them.
            Only independent witness is a witness to Panchnama (Ext. 18)”

5.    Dr.  Ashok  Dhamija,  learned  counsel  appearing  for  the  appellant
submitted that the High Court grossly erred  in  coming  to  the  conclusion
that in the absence of proof  that  the  Ganja  allegedly  seized  from  the
custody of the respondent is of foreign origin, Section 23 of the  NDPS  Act
is not attracted.

6.    The learned counsel further assailed the conclusion of the High  Court
that the prosecution could not prove  that  the  material  seized  from  the
respondent was ganja.

7.    On the other hand, the learned counsel for  the  respondent  submitted
that Section 23 of the NDPS Act creates three offences  and  they  are;  (i)
import into India, (ii) Export out of India; and (iii) Transhipment  of  any
narcotic  drug  or  psychotropic  substance.    If  any  one  of  the  three
activities is undertaken in contravention of any one of  the  provisions  of
the Act or the Rules made thereunder or in contravention of  an  order  made
or condition of licence or permit granted or  certificate  or  authorization
issued either under the Act  or the  Rules.    The  explanation  “tranships”
occurring under Section 23 must necessarily be understood in the context  of
the scheme of the Section and the  preceding  expressions  of  “import  into
India” and “export out of India” to mean only transhipment for  the  purpose
of either import into India or export out of India.    The  learned  counsel
further submitted that the High Court rightly concluded in  the  absence  of
any proof that the respondent was carrying contraband either in  the  course
of import into India or export out of India, section 23 is not attracted.

8.     We  agree  with  the  submission  made  by  the  respondent  on   the
construction of Section 23 of  the  NDPS  Act,  the  expression  “tranships”
occurring therein  must  necessarily  be  understood  as  suggested  by  the
learned counsel for the respondent.   There  is  yet  another  reason  apart
from the construction of the language of Section  23  which  compels  us  to
accept the submission made  by  the  learned  counsel  for  the  respondent.
Section 9(1)(a)(vii) also employs  the  expression  transhipment.    Section
9(1) reads as follows;

           “9. Power of Central Government to permit, control and regulate.
           -(1) Subject  to  the  provisions  of  section  8,  the  Central
           Government may, by rules-


           (a) permit and regulate-
           (i)  the  cultivation,  or  gathering  of  any   portion   (such
           cultivation or gathering being only on account  of  the  Central
           Government) of coca plant, or the production, possession,  sale,
           purchase, transport, import inter-State, export inter-State, use
           or consumption of coca leaves;
           (ii) the cultivation (such cultivation being only on account  of
           Central Government) of the opium poppy;
           (iii) the production and manufacture of opium and production  of
           poppy straw;
           (iv) the sale of opium and opium derivatives  from  the  Central
           Government factories for export from  India  or  sale  to  State
           Government or to manufacturing chemists;
           (v) the manufacture of manufactured drugs (other, than  prepared
           opium) but not including manufacture of medicinal opium  or  any
           preparation containing  any  manufactured  drug  from  materials
           which the maker is lawfully entitled to possess;
           (vi) the manufacture, possession, transport import  inter-State,
           export  inter-State,  sale,  purchase,  consumption  or  use  of
           psychotropic substances;
           (vii)  the  import  into  India  and  export  from   India   and
           transhipment of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances;
           (b) prescribe any other matter requisite to render effective the
           control of the  Central  Government  over  any  of  the  matters
           specified in clause (a)”


9.    It can be seen from the language  of  the  Section  that  the  Central
Government is authorized  to  make  rules  which  may  permit  and  regulate
various activities such as cultivation, gathering,  production,  possession,
sale, transport, inter state import or export  of  various  substances  like
coca leaves, poppy straw, opium poppy and opium derivatives etc., while  the
Parliament used the expression  transport  in  the  context  of  inter-state
import or export of such material in sub-Section 1(a)(vi),  in  the  context
of importing to India and export  out  of  India,  Parliament  employed  the
expression transhipment in Section 9(i)(a)(vii).

10.   Therefore, the High Court rightly concluded  that  the  conviction  of
the respondent under Section 23 of the NDPS Act cannot  be  sustained.    We
see no reason to interfere with the same.

11.   In view of such conclusion, we do not deem  it  necessary  to  examine
the correctness  of  other  conclusions  recorded  by  the  High  Court  for
acquitting the respondents.   The appeal is, therefore, dismissed.


                                      ………………………………J.
                                      ( Dr. B.S. Chauhan )






                                      ………………………………J.
                                      ( J. Chelameswar )
New Delhi;
March 25, 2014

                                                     -----------------------
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