Punishment Prescribed U/S 27(d) Of Drugs & Cosmetics Act Can Be Reduced If Plea Bargain is Entered Into by Accused: Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court has upheld a trial court order imposing a sentence less than the minimum punishment prescribed under Section 27(d) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, noting that the accused had entered into a plea bargain under Section 265-B of CrPC.
This was noted in the case of The State of Karnataka v. S.B. Shivashankar (CRIMINAL REVISION PETITION NO.775 OF 2018) and the judgment was presided over by a Coram of Justice K Somashekar.

Facts of the case-

In the case at hand, the respondent was accused of unauthorizedly selling scheduled drugs. The trial court convicted him under Section 18(a)(vi) of the Act read with Rule 65(2) and Rule 65(3)(1) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 back in 2015. He was sentenced under Section 27(d) to undergo a day’s imprisonment, till the rising of the Court.

The first appellate court had dismissed State’s appeal following which, it approached the High Court.

The court noted, “When the parties had mutually come forward seeking ‘plea bargaining to close the criminal prosecution case in terms of the issues emerged in between them for violation of the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, the Trial Court had accepted the application filed by the respondent / accused and extended plea bargaining benefit, which was also approved by the complainant / State who was represented by the Assistant Public Prosecutor because the accused had pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a fine of Rs.10,000/- and to undergo imprisonment for one day till the rising of the Court.”

Further, the bench held “Therefore, in this petition, it does not arise to call for interference the said judgments of the Trial Court as well as the First Appellate Court since there are no warranting circumstances which arise to call for interference.”

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Judgement reviewed by Alaina Fatima.

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