Saturday, 5 September 2020

Supreme Court: Police officer can not register offence, arrest accused and investigate the case under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act

THE CONCLUSIONS/DIRECTIONS

150. Thus, we may cull out our conclusions/directions as follows:

I. In regard to cognizable offences under Chapter IV of the Act, in view of Section 32 of the Act and also the scheme of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Police Officer cannot prosecute offenders in regard to such offences. Only the persons mentioned in Section 32 are entitled to do the same.

II. There is no bar to the Police Officer, however, to investigate and prosecute the person where he has committed an offence, as stated Under Section 32(3) of the Act, i.e., if he has committed any cognizable offence under any other law.

III. Having regard to the scheme of the Code of Criminal Procedure and also the mandate of Section 32 of the Act and on a conspectus of powers which are available with the Drugs Inspector under the Act and also his duties, a Police Officer cannot register a FIR Under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, in regard to cognizable offences under Chapter IV of the Act and he cannot investigate such offences under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

IV. Having regard to the provisions of Section 22(1)(d) of the Act, we hold that an arrest can be made by the Drugs Inspector in regard to cognizable offences falling under Chapter IV of the Act without any warrant and otherwise treating it as a cognizable offence. He is, however, bound by the law as laid down in D.K. Basu (supra) and to follow the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure.

V. It would appear that on the understanding that the Police Officer can register a FIR, there are many cases where FIRs have been registered in regard to cognizable offences falling under Chapter IV of the Act. We find substance in the stand taken by learned Amicus Curiae and direct that they should be made over to the Drugs Inspectors, if not already made over, and it is for the Drugs Inspector to take action on the same in accordance with the law. We must record that we are resorting to our power Under Article 142 of the Constitution of India in this regard.

VI. Further, we would be inclined to believe that in a number of cases on the understanding of the law relating to the power of arrest as, in fact, evidenced by the facts of the present case, police officers would have made arrests in regard to offences under Chapter IV of the Act. Therefore, in regard to the power of arrest, we make it clear that our decision that Police Officers do not have power to arrest in respect of cognizable offences under Chapter IV of the Act, will operate with effect from the date of this Judgment.

VII. We further direct that the Drugs Inspectors, who carry out the arrest, must not only report the arrests, as provided in Section 58 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, but also immediately report the arrests to their superior Officers.

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Criminal Appeal No. 200 of 2020 
Decided On: 28.08.2020

 Union of India (UOI)  Vs. Ashok Kumar Sharma and Ors.


Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K.M. Joseph, JJ.

Citation: MANU/SC/0648/2020
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