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Calcutta High Court Seeks State Gov's Response In Plea Seeking Establishment Of Special Courts Under NDPS Act In Compliance With SC Directions

Aaratrika Bhaumik
17 Jan 2022 6:51 AM GMT
Calcutta High Court Seeks State Govs Response In Plea Seeking Establishment Of Special Courts Under NDPS Act In Compliance With SC Directions
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The Calcutta High Court on Friday sought response from the State government in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition seeking the establishment of Special Courts which would deal exclusively with offences under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) pursuant to the directions issued by Supreme Court in the case of Thana Singh v. Central Bureau...

The Calcutta High Court on Friday sought response from the State government in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition seeking the establishment of Special Courts which would deal exclusively with offences under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) pursuant to the directions issued by Supreme Court in the case of Thana Singh v. Central Bureau of Narcotics

A Bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj was apprised by the counsel appearing for the High Court administration that despite the directions issued by the Supreme Court vide order dated January 23, 2013, till date no effort has been made by the State government to establish such Special Courts for exclusively trying offences under the NDPS Act. 

Pertinently, the Supreme Court in Thana Singh v. Central Bureau of Narcotics had issued the following directions, 

i) Each state, in consultation with the High Court, particularly the states of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Jammu & Kashmir (where the pendency of cases over five years is stated to be high), is directed to establish Special Courts which would deal exclusively with offences under the NDPS Act.

ii) The number of these courts must be proportionate to, and sufficient for, handling the volume of pending cases in the State.

iii) Till exclusive courts for the purpose of disposing of NDPS cases under the NDPS Act are established, these cases will be prioritized over all other matters; after the setting up of the special courts for NDPS cases, only after the clearance of matters under the NDPS Act will an NDPS court be permitted to take up any other matter.

Advocate Saikat Banerjee appearing for the High Court administration further submitted that the only action taken by the State government pursuant to the aforementioned directions of the Apex Court was to request the Registrar General of the High Court to circulate a copy of the judgment in Thana Singh v. Central Bureau of Narcotics to the presiding judicial officers of NDPS Courts functioning in various districts of the State. 

The Court was further informed that as on December 31, 2021, nearly 11,484 cases pertaining to the NDPS Act are currently pending in various district courts of the State.

Furthermore, advocate Soumyajit Das Mohapatra appearing for the petitioner submitted that there is only one Special Court for exclusively trying cases under the NDPS Act in Sadar Sub Division in Murshidabad. He further contended that such Special Courts are grossly inadequate are accordingly prayed for directions for the establishment of more such Special Courts. 

Taking cognisance of the grievance raised, the Bench observed, 

"Court exists in Sadar Sub Division in Murshidabad. Let this be rectified by the counsel for the High Court administration. The counsel for the State is directed to obtain instructions in this regard and file report before the next date of hearing."

The matter is slated to be heard next on February 23, 2022. 

Case Title: Ahamadur Rahaman v. State of West Bengal and Ors 

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