6 Sep 2022 9:45 AM GMT
The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently held that the sample parcels of alleged contraband that is sent to Forensic Science Laboratory is "case property" and must be produced before trial Court under FSL seal, after the forensic examination is completed.The bench comprising Justice Sureshwar Thakur observed,"The sample cloth parcels whereons an adverse opinion, becomes drawn against...
The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently held that the sample parcels of alleged contraband that is sent to Forensic Science Laboratory is "case property" and must be produced before trial Court under FSL seal, after the forensic examination is completed.
The bench comprising Justice Sureshwar Thakur observed,
"The sample cloth parcels whereons an adverse opinion, becomes drawn against the convict, by the FSL concerned, can never become the property of the FSL concerned, "but is case property" and, is obviously required to be returned, by the FSL concerned, to the police malkhana concerned, for thereafter its becoming produced in Court, as, only upon its production in Court the factum of its provenly becoming linked with the road certificate, and, also its apposite link, with the report of the FSL, would become established, and, rather only when after examination of the stuff inside cloth parcels, the same, became re-enclosed in them, and, thereafter the seals' of the FSL become also embossed, hence, on each of the sample cloth parcels."
The Court clarified that not only the bulk contraband parcels are required to be produced in Court, but also the sample parcels that are sent to the FSL, are also necessarily required to be produced in Court to ensure that seals impression remained untampered not only upto the transmission of the sample parcels to the FSL but also after examination of the stuff inside. Thus, the Chemical Analyst concerned must not only re-enclose the stuff examined inside the sample parcels, but also emboss thereon the seal impressions of the FSL concerned.
These formalities, the court noted, are not merely perfunctory nor are mechanical, rather work towards unflinchingly proving the charge drawn against the accused. Failure to follow this procedure, the Court said, would lead to an inevitable effect that the bulk parcels concerned would not be concluded to be also containing the prohibited substance.
The court was dealing with a case where the Special Judge, Patiala made a verdict of conviction, upon, the convict under Section 22 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act sentencing him to rigorous imprisonment of 10 years, and fine of Rs.1,00,000/. Aggrieved from this the convict instituted the instant appeal.
Facts relevant to the instant case are that contraband in the form of COREX and LOMOTIL tablets from the polythene bag in the right hand of the convict were recovered by the investigating officer and the same was sent to FSL in sample parcels carrying seal impression where the Chemical Analyst, after analyses, did not re-enclose the examined stuff, into the sample parcels nor did he proceeded to emboss seal impression of the FSL concerned.
The court noted that the result of the above omission was that the prosecution who was depended only upon the opinion of FSL could not link the opinion with the bulk parcel(s).
Even otherwise, the incriminatory opinion of the FSL concerned, is required to be corroborated, by the production of the apposite sample parcels. Just like the report of a Handwriting Expert which becomes bedrocked, upon the apposite documents sent to it for comparison, requires necessarily to be appended with the report.
The above necessity also facilitate the convict, to ask for apposite re-examinations from the FSL concerned, but that would happen only when the sample parcels are produced in Court.
Therefore, for want of the above, the court noted that no conclusion can be formed that the stuff inside the bulk parcels also contained the prohibited substance. Court also laid down the following principles that emerge from the above discussion:
Resultantly, the court held that impugned verdict suffers from a gross infirmity, of gross misappraisal of the above, and, requires its being annulled, and, set aside.
Case Title: BUTA KHAN Versus STATE OF PUNJAB
Citation:2022 LiveLaw (PH) 245
Click Here To Read/Download Order