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Rizwan Khan Vs. The State of Chhattisgarh - (Supreme Court) (10 Sep 2020)

To prove the case under NDPS Act, ownership of the vehicle is not required to be established

MANU/SC/0680/2020

Criminal

Original accused no.1 has preferred the present appeal against impugned Judgment passed by the High Court by which the High Court has dismissed the said appeal preferred by the Appellant herein – original accused No.1 and has confirmed the Judgment and Order of Conviction and Sentence passed by the learned Special Court convicting the accused – Appellant no.1 for the offence under Section 20(b)(ii)(B) of Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (‘NDPS Act’)

In the present case, the prosecution has been successful in proving the case against the accused by examining the witnesses. It is true that all the witnesses are police officials and two independent witnesses who were panchnama witnesses had turned hostile. However, all the police witnesses are found to be reliable and trustworthy. All of them have been thoroughly cross­examined by the defence. There is no allegation of any enmity between the police witnesses and the accused. No such defence has been taken in the statement under Section 313 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC). There is no law that, the evidence of police officials, unless supported by independent evidence, is to be discarded and/or unworthy of acceptance.

It is settled law that, the testimony of the official witnesses cannot be rejected on the ground of non­corroboration by independent witness. As observed and held by this Court in catena of decisions, examination of independent witnesses is not an indispensable requirement and such non­examination is not necessarily fatal to the prosecution case as is held in the State of Himachal Pradesh v. Pardeep Kumar and Ors.

Regarding the submission on behalf of the accused with respect to non­compliance of the procedure prescribed under Section 42 of the NDPS Act is concerned, on consideration of the deposition of PW8, compliance of the procedure prescribed under Section 42 of the NDPS Act has been established and proved. Similarly, compliance under Section 55 of the NDPS Act, has also been established and proved by the prosecution by examining PW3 and PW7.

It has been established and proved that, the samples which were seized and sealed were sent to the FSL. The submission on behalf of the accused that, the ownership of the motor cycle (vehicle) has not been established, it is required to be noted that, in the present case, the Appellant and the other accused persons were found on the spot with the contraband articles in the vehicle. To prove the case under the NDPS Act, the ownership of the vehicle is not required to be established. It is enough to establish and prove that, the contraband articles were found from the accused from the vehicle purchased by the accused.

Ownership of the vehicle is immaterial. Therefore, merely because of the ownership of the vehicle is not established and proved and/or the vehicle is not recovered subsequently, trial is not vitiated, while the prosecution has been successful in proving and establishing the recovery of the contraband articles from the accused on the spot. Both the Courts below have rightly convicted the accused for the offence under Section 20(b)(ii)(B) of the NDPS Act. There is no reason to interfere with the conviction of the accused for the offence under Section 20(b)(ii)(B) of the NDPS Act. Appeal dismissed.

Relevant : Himachal Pradesh v. Pardeep Kumar and Ors. MANU/SC/0213/2018

Tags : CONVICTION   EVIDENCE   CREDIBILITY  

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