RAVEEN KUMAR Vs. STATE OF HIMACHAL PRADESH
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
STATE OF HIMACHAL PRADESH
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SURYA KANT, J. -
(1.)These Criminal Appeals have been heard over videoconferencing.
(2.)The appellant, Raveen Kumar, challenges the judgment dated 23.04.2010 and the order dated 18.05.2010 passed by a Division Bench of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh, whereby his acquittal under Section 20 of the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 ("NDPS Act") was reversed and a sentence of two-years rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs.50,000 was instead imposed.
(3.)Briefly put, the prosecution case is that on 01.11.1994 at around 3:30 P.M., a police party while conducting traffic checks for suspected ammunition near the HP-J&K border at Surangani, stopped a Maruti van which was being driven by the appellant. The police in the course of rummaging found that the van was loaded with tins of ghee, a bag of maize, 20 bottles of honey, rajmah, angithi, thermos, stepney and some other miscellaneous articles. A polythene bag underneath the driver's seat was also discovered. Suspecting it to contain narcotics, the police summoned two local shopkeepers (including Nam Singh, PW1) as independent witnesses. The appellant was informed of his statutory right to be searched in the presence of a magistrate or gazetted officer but he consented to being searched by the police party itself. The contents of the bag were then examined and charas, in the form of dhoopbati and balls was found. It was weighed using scales obtained from a nearby shop and was found to be 1 kg and 230 gms. After a 10 gm sample of the contraband was extracted, the charas was sealed and seized, and other procedural formalities were completed. The appellant was arrested and statement of one of the two independent witnesses - Nam Singh (PW1) was recorded. The sample was sent for chemical analysis where it was confirmed to be charas with a resin content of 34.5%. The prosecution, accordingly, charged the appellant for offence under Section 20 of the NDPS Act.
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