drug plant

Establishing the Principle of Preponderance of Probability to Sustain the conviction for Illegal Possession: Gauhati High Court

The committing of an offence under Section 20(b)(ii)(c) and 29 of the NDPS Act 1985 and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for another 6 months is quashed as the offence based on the Principle of the preponderance of probability and entitled for the benefit of the doubt was discovered is held by the Gauhati High Court before the HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SUMAN SHYAM in the matters of Sri Biswanath Pratap Singh and Ors v. The State of Assam. [Crl.A/51/2020]

The Accuse was carrying suspected Ganja in bags kept inside the bedroll cabin of the Coach. 

Immediately, the checking party deboarded the bedroll staff along with the three bags containing Ganja from the coach and detained them with the bags. On getting the information from the checking party the appropriate authority send letter under Section 41(2) of the NDPs Act to the informant and the informant visited the place of Occurrence, examined the checking party. During the checking, a total of five packets of suspected Ganja weighing 38kgs wrapped in black polythene were recovered from the two black coloured bags and recovered one ID card and two numbers of the mobile handset. The case was registered under Section 20(c)/29 NDPS Act and the officer-in-charge took the matter for investigation.

During the investigation, the I.O. had recorded the statement of the witness, statement of the informant, drew a sketch map and took custody of the seized Ganja. The original sample of the seized Ganja was Examined in Forensic Science Laboratory. Upon completion of the investigation, the charge sheet against the two accused under Section 20(c)/29 of the NDPS Act.

Section 20(b)(i) of the NDPS Act provides punishment for possession or transportation contraband. Possession is made up of two elements, first Corpus- the physical control and secondly the animus or intent with such control is exercised. It is conscious possession, which is contemplated by penal statute which provides and penalises possession of any contraband article or thing. Possession means conscious possession and not mere custody without awareness of such possession.

The Hon’ble Court held that “Prosecution has not able to prove the fundamental facts of the offence based on Preponderance of probability and therefore, the presumption under Section 35/ 54 of the Act cannot be drawn against the accused person in this case. The involvement of Accused is doubtful and entitled to the benefit of the doubt. Thus, the Accuse is released from jail”. 


Click here to read the Judgement.


Judgement Reviewed by- Kaviya S

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