Section 41-44 of the Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 deal with the procedure during the entry, search, seizure and arrest of a person for any offence under the NDPS Act. Under section 41-44 of the NDPS Act, 1985 the presence of a gazetted officer of the departments of central excise, revenue intelligence or any other department of the Central Government including the para-military forces or the armed forces as is empowered in this behalf by general or special order by the Central Government, or any such officer of the revenue, drugs control, excise, police or any other department of a State Government as is empowered in this behalf by general or special order of the State Government is mandatory at the time of arresting a person for any offence under NDPS Act, 1985. Usually a revenue officer of the rank of Naib Tehsildar is present during such an arrest.

Chandigarh High Court NDPS Judgment
Chandigarh High Court NDPS Judgment

Recently in a shocking discovery by the Haryana Punjab High Court it was found that these Naib Tehsildars falsely authenticate the arrested person under NDPS Act. In one such case in Karnal district where a petition was filed by Gurwinder Singh aka Prince of Karnal it was found that a Naib Tehsildar in Karnal had authenticated documents which verified the arrest at a particular place though it was later found that the Tehsildar was not even present at the place of arrest. It was also found through CCTV footage that the arrested person was present at his home rather than the place which was shown by the police in the FIR.

In this case single bench of Justice Amol Ratan Singh observed that it was a matter of “deep regret” that even gazetted officers, who have a responsibility under the NDPS Act to authenticate the recovery of any contraband, are seen to be “completely abrogating their responsibility” and signing documents apparently without actually going to the spot from where the alleged recovery is shown to have been made.In an order, Justice Singh, asked the government to inform the court regarding the action being taken against the officer. He ordered the additional chief secretary or principal secretary-cum-financial commissioner, revenue, Government of Haryana, is directed to go into the matter as to why even the Naib Tehsildar (seemingly) colluded with police officials and signed (as a gazetted officer) on a document that is purported to have been signed at a place where the Naib Tehsildar was not present. The court also noted that in an earlier order it has seeked affidavits from Punjab and Haryana DGPs and asked them as to why it should not be made absolutely mandatory for all police parties going out from police stations to disclose their mobile numbers in the DDR to determine as to whether the story given in the FIRs is actually authentic or not, with the mobile tower locations of those mobile phones to be verified wherever there is a doubt.

For case specific advice, get in touch with top/expert/best NDPS advocates/lawyer of Punjab & Haryana High Court at Chandigarh (Panchkula Mohali Tricity).

This story is written by Abhay Tripathi of SLS, Pune. For more info, dial 99888-17966.