BY- ABHAAS MISHRA
The Punjab and Haryana High court has made an important observation last week, in Vinay Kumar @ Vicky v. State of Haryana, that the Forensic report serves as the foundation of a case filed under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act), and if it is absent in the case, then the prosecution’s entire case would fall to the ground.
The observation was by the Bench of Justice Gurvinder Singh Gill while granting bail to one Vinay Kumar who was found in possession of 7000 tablets of ‘Clovidol-10 SR’ (Tramadol Hydrochloride), which were allegedly recovered.
Notably, the final report submitted in the instant case did not incorporate the FSL report and in view of that, the High Court held that without the filing of the FSL report, a case under the NDPS act could not stand.
Facts of the case
The police had investigated the matter after the alleged recovery of the drugs from the accused, and thereafter filed a report under section 173 Cr.P.C. before the trial court, however, the final report filed by the police was not accompanied by the FSL (Forensic Science Laboratory) report. The prosecution failed to file the FSL report within the stipulated time period of 180 days, which has been provided under the provisions of the NDPS act read with section 167 Cr.P.C.
Hence, the accused filed an application for his release on bail, contending that in the absence of an FSL report, the chalan filed by the police can’t be considered as complete. It was rejected by the trial court, leading the accused to move to the High Court. Importantly, the Punjab & Haryana High Court has referred this question – as to whether a challan filed without report of FSL would be an incomplete challan (in an NDPS Case)- to a larger Bench, vide order dated September 9, 2020, passed in Julfkar Vs. State of Haryana [2020 (4) Law Herald3188] and the matter is pending before the High Court.
The Court stated that a case under the NDPS Act can only be considered if the prosecution is able to establish that the article recovered is contraband, which can only be proved on the basis of its chemical examination, which is normally done through the FSL established by the government.
“The report of the FSL forms the foundation of the case of the prosecution and in case the same is not there the entire case of prosecution falls to the ground,” the High Court added.
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