Supreme Court Clarifies NDPS Act’s Search and Seizure Provisions in Landmark Judgment

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In a significant legal development, the Supreme Court recently addressed the interplay between Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution and the search and seizure provisions outlined in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act). The Court’s ruling clarified fundamental rights in the context of law enforcement actions.

The Division Bench, comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Augustine George Masih, emphasized that the power to search and seize under the NDPS Act constitutes a temporary interference with the rights of the accused. It underscored that reasonable restrictions within the provisions themselves ensure that such actions do not violate fundamental rights.

Specifically, the Court rejected the notion that Article 20(3) of the Constitution is affected by the NDPS Act’s search and seizure provisions. It upheld the importance of statutory safeguards and reasoned that adherence to legal procedures is crucial to protect individual liberties.

In a case where the accused individuals’ conviction was overturned due to non-compliance with Section 41 of the NDPS Act, the Court highlighted procedural discrepancies. It emphasized the necessity of written information before conducting a search, as mandated by the Act.

Furthermore, the Court scrutinized the specifics of the case, noting the absence of personal knowledge or substantial evidence to justify the search. It concluded that the search conducted violated statutory mandates and granted the accused the benefit of doubt, setting aside their convictions.

This ruling serves as a crucial precedent in understanding the balance between law enforcement powers and individual rights under the NDPS Act. It reaffirms the importance of procedural adherence and underscores the need for strict compliance with legal safeguards.

Also Read  Section 341 CrPC: Appeal - Code of Criminal Procedure

Case Title: Smt. Najmunisha, Abdul Hamid Chandmiya alias Ladoo Bapu Vs. State of Gujarat, Narcotics Control Bureau

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