Notice U/Sec 50 NDPS Act Should Specify What Rights Accused Has; Merely Informing Him That He Has Rights Not Sufficient: Punjab & Haryana High Court
[05 November 2021]
The Punjab and Haryana High Court observed that a notice under Section 50 of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 should specify what rights the accused has under the NDPS Act. Merely informing the accused that he had rights under the NDPS Act, without specifying what rights the accused had under the NDPS Act, would not constitute compliance with the mandatory requirement, Justice B.S. Walia observed. In this bail petition, the accused contended that he was not informed of his right to be searched in the presence of a Gazetted Officer or a Magistrate if he so desired, therefore, there was non-compliance with Section 50 NDPS Act. The State, produced the Notice that was issued to the accused, submitted that he was informed of his rights, besides option to get his search conducted by a Magistrate or Gazetted Officer for which the said Officer could be called on the spot, therefore in the circumstances, there was due compliance with the mandate of Section 50 NDPS Act. The court observed that this notice mentions the accused has been apprised of his rights. But the said notice is absolutely silent as to what rights were apprised to the petitioner as also whether he was apprised of his right under Section 50 NDPS Act, to be searched in the presence of a Magistrate or a Gazetted Officer, the court noted. “The said notice merely mentions the petitioner having been informed of his rights as also the option if he so desired to get his search conducted by a Magistrate or Gazetted officer. To my mind, merely informing the petitioner that he had rights under the NDPS Act, without specifying what rights the petitioner had under the NDPS Act, would not constitute compliance with the mandatory requirement under Section 50 sub- Section (1) NDPS Act.”, the court observed.