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Confessional statement under Section 67 of the NDPS Act is hit by Section 25 of the Evidence Act and has no value in the eyes of law: The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh

Merely because the complaint is lodged under different provisions of the NDPS Act does not mean that the court is bound to frame the charges against the accused persons. The court is not required to sift the evidence while considering framing of charges but at the same time sufficient material has to be there on record for framing of the charges against the accused. The aforesaid has been established by the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh while adjudicating the case of Munish Khosla v. State of J&K and others [CRR No. 67/2011] which was decided upon by a single judge bench comprising Justice Puneet Gupta on 2nd September 2021.

The facts of the case are as follows. The petitioner through the medium of present petition has sought setting aside of order dated 18.10.2011, passed by the court of learned Principal Sessions Judge, Jammu, whereby the court has directed framing of charges against the petitioner herein and the private respondents under Sections 8/21/29/60 NDPS Act and consequently framed formal charges against them, on the ground that the so called statement recorded by the petitioner before the respondent No.1 in terms of Section 67 NDPS Act does not disclose any offence against the petitioner. In fact there was no material which could prompt the trial court to frame charges against the petitioner. Learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioner has argued that except for the statement of the petitioner under Section 67 of the Act there is no other evidence on record to connect the accused 3 CRR No. 67/2011 with the alleged commission of offence. Infact the statement recorded under Section 67 of the Act is not admissible in terms of the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court titled Tofan Singh v. State of Tamil Nadu.

The court perused the facts and arguments presented. it was of the opinion that “It is not prima facie made out from the statement that the petitioner herein had facilitated the procurement of the narcotics or had otherwise any connection with the narcotics which was recovered. In addition the argument of the learned counsel for the petitioner that the so called confessional statement recorded under Section 67 of the NDPS Act is hit by Section 25 of the Evidence Act and, therefore, the statement recorded of the petitioner under Section 67 has no value in the eyes of law in view of the judgment in Tofan Singh’s case could not be met by the learned counsel for the respondent. In view of the discussion made above, the court finds merit in the petition. The petition is allowed and the order impugned dated 18.10.2011 directing framing of charge and consequently the formal framing of charge against the petitioner-Munish Khosla are set aside.”

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