Kerala High Court: Manner of investigating and prosecuting drug-related crimes should be fair [17.11.2023]

The Kerala High Court has said that while the society should be protected from drug-related crimes, the manner of investigating and prosecuting such offences must remain fair.

The observations were made by the single-judge Bench of Justice N Nagaresh.

Setting aside a man’s (appellant) sentence and conviction under Section 22(c) (punishment for possessing a commercial quantity of drugs) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act), the High Court said there was a need to protect society from criminals pedaling in narcotic drugs.

The societal interest and safety would suffer if persons committing crimes were let off because the evidence against them was to be treated as if it did not exist, it pointed out.

The High Court, however, noted that the manner in which drug traffickers were proceeded against must remain above board.

It said the remedy could not be worse than the disease itself.

The legitimacy of judicial process may come under cloud if the court was seen to condone acts of lawlessness conducted by the investigating agency during search operations, it added.

17 Nov 2023