SURESH Vs. STATE OF KERALA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
STATE OF KERALA
Click here to view full judgement.
(1.)The appellant before this Court in this appeal, upon grant of special leave under article 136, has been convicted under section 21 of the Narcotic Drugs and psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of 10 years and to pay a fine of rupees one lakh, and in default, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for another one year. In appeal against the order and judgment of the court of session, the High court came to a similar conclusion and did not feel it expedient to interfere with the conviction and sentence as directed by the learned sessions judge.
(2.)During the course of hearing the learned counsel appearing in support of the appeal drew our attention to notification no. S. O. 527 (E) , dated 16/07/1996, which specifies and defines the expression "small quantity" for the purpose of clause (b) of section 27 of the Narcotic Drugs and psychotropic Substance Act, 1995 and the quantity in grams has been fixed at 5 grams. The concerned narcotic drug involved, is di-acetyl morphine (heroin). Admittedly the seizure, in the contextual facts, depicts a total quantity of 3.5 grams, as such much below the quantity as prescribed in terms of the notification and thus a "small quantity' in terms of the notification. Section 27, however, has not been taken recourse to either by the learned sessions judge or by the High Court and the conviction has been under section 21 which prescribes a punishment of imprisonment for 10 years with fine.
(3.)Incidentally, the seizure memo itself records that 3.5 grams of di-acetyl morphine (heroin) was recovered from the body of the accused person being tied on to his wearing apparel. There is no evidence available on record that the same was meant for sale or there was ever any attempt even to sell the same. While it is true that the provisions under the Act of 1985 are rather strict, but in the event of there being a 'small quantity' as mentioned in the notification and in the event of compliance of the provisions of section 27, the punishment, as prescribed by the legislature, is one year and six months respectively.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.