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[Breaking] Officers Authorised To Investigate NDPS Cases Are 'Police Officers' And Confessional Statements Made To Them Are Not Admissible: Supreme Court [2:1] [Read Judgment]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
29 Oct 2020 5:55 AM GMT
[Breaking] Officers Authorised To Investigate NDPS Cases Are Police Officers And Confessional Statements Made To Them Are Not Admissible: Supreme Court [2:1] [Read Judgment]
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The Supreme Court on Thursday held by 2:1 majority that officers of the Central & State agencies appointed under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act are police officers and therefore the 'confessional' statements recorded by them under Section 67 are not admissible.Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and Navin Sinha held thus, while Justice Indira Banerjee gave a dissenting opinion...

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The Supreme Court on Thursday held by 2:1 majority that officers of the Central & State agencies appointed under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act are police officers and therefore the 'confessional' statements recorded by them under Section 67 are not admissible.

Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and Navin Sinha held thus, while Justice Indira Banerjee gave a dissenting opinion in the case Tofan Singh v State of Tamil Nadu.

The Summary of the Judgment 

That the officers who are invested with powers under section 53 of the NDPS Act are "police officers" within the meaning of section 25 of the Evidence Act, as a result of which any confessional statement made to them would be barred under the provisions of section 25 of the Evidence Act, and cannot be taken into account in order to convict an accused under the NDPS Act.

That a statement recorded under section 67 of the NDPS Act cannot be used as a confessional statement in the trial of an offence under the NDPS Act. 

The bench was answering a reference made by a two judge bench in 2013, which had referred these issues to the larger bench: 1) Whether the officer investigating the matter under the NDPS Act would qualify as police officer or not? 2) Whether the statement recorded by the investigating officer under Section 67 of the Act can be treated as confessional statement or not, even if the officer is not treated as police officer? Reference was made by the two judge bench expressing its doubt about the correctness of the dictum laid in Kanhaiyalal vs. Union of India in which it was held that the officer under Section 63 is not a police officer and thus the bar under Sections 24 and 27 of the Evidence Act cannot be attracted. It was further held in Kanhaiyalal hat the statement made by a person directed to appear before the officer concerned may be relied upon as a confessional statement against such person.

Section 67 provides that 'Any officer referred to in section 42 who is authorised in this behalf by the Central Government or a State Government may, during the course of any enquiry in connection with the contravention of any provisions of this Act,—(a) call for information from any person for the purpose of satisfying himself whether there has been any contravention of the provisions of this Act or any rule or order made thereunder; (b) require any person to produce or deliver any document or thing useful or relevant to the enquiry; (c) examine any person acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case.' The contention of the accused was that their conviction is based upon a purported confessional statement under the provisions of Section 67 of the NDPS Act, and the same does not have any evidentiary value in view of the mandate under Section 25 of the Indian Evidence Act.

[Report will be updated on receipt of copy of judgment]

Click Here To Download Judgment

[Read Judgment]




 

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