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Conditions under S.50 of the NDPS Act apply only to personal search of the accused: High Court of Karnataka

Procedure of search under S. 50 of the NDPS Act applies only to personal search of the accused. Here in this case, the parcel was seized while the accused was accepting the same from the Postal authorities. It is nothing but catching red-handedly, while the accused was receiving the parcel. This was held in SRI ARJAV DEEPAK MEHTA V. STATE OF KARNATAKA [CRIMINAL PETITION No.8065 of 2020] in the High Court of KARNATAKA by single bench consisting of JUSTICE K.NATARAJAN.

Facts are that a police officer registered complaint on information that accused is purchasing and selling psychotropic substances acquired through post. Petitioner while receiving a parcel from the postman was arrested. Two hundred LSD Strips were seized in the presence of panchas by the police officer. Petition is filed by the petitioner under Section 439 of Cr.P.C for bail.

The counsel for the petitioner contended that that there was violation of Section 50 of NDPS Act and in support of his contention, he relied upon the judgment of Apex court in the case of Gorakh Nath Prasad vs. State of Bihar. There was no proper weighing done by the raiding authority and field test was not conducted as per the guidelines of NCB.

The court made reference to the Supreme Court judgement in State of Himachal Pradesh vs. Pawan Kumar, wherein the Apex court had cited a constitutional bench judgement and had made the following observations, “The above quoted dictum of the Constitution Bench shows that the provisions of Section 50 will come into play only in the case of personal search of the accused and not of some baggage like a bag, article or container, etc. which he may be carrying. Learned counsel for the State has referred to large number of decisions of this Court wherein Section 50 was held inapplicable in the case of search of some baggage or article etc, which was in immediate possession or was being carried by the accused.”

Considering the precedent and the facts of the case court held that, S.50 of the NDPS Act applies only to personal search and not to the parcel seized while the accused was accepting it from the Postman.The guidelines issued by the NCB is for the purpose of the procedure which is directory in nature but not mandatory. Police raided and apprehended the accused and thus not being special police, whether they carried field test kit, is issue to be determined at trial. Thus dismissing bail petition.

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