Supreme Court Guidelines




Union of India v. Mohan/al and Others

(2016) 3 sec 379: 2016 (1) SCALE 646: 2016 (159) AIC 87: JT 2016 (1) SC 596

Criminal Appeal No. 652 of 2012

Dated: January 28, 2016

BENCH: Justices T.S. Thakur and Kurian Joseph.

Guidelines were issued on the disposal of Narcotic Drugs and  Psychotropic  and controlled Substances and Conveyance.

Disposal of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic and controlled Substances and Conveyances shall be carried out in the following manner till such time the Government prescribes a different procedure for the same:

Cases where the trial is concluded and proceedings in appeal/revision have all concluded finally: In cases that stood finally concluded at the trial, appeal,  revision  and further appeals, if any, before 29th May, 1989 the continued storage of drugs and Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic  and controlled  Substances  and Conveyances  is of no consequence not  only because of the  considerable  lapse of time since the  conclusion  of the proceedings but also because  the process  of certification  and  disposal after verification  and testing may be an idle formality. We say so because even if upon verification and further testing of the seized contraband in such already concluded cases it is found that the same is either replaced, stolen or pilferaged, it will be difficult if not  impossible  to  fix the  responsibility for such theft, replacement or pilferage at this distant point in time. That apart, the storage facility available with the States, in whatever satisfactory or unsatisfactory conditions the same exist, are reported to  be over-flowing  with seized contraband  goods. It would,  therefore,  be just and proper to direct that the Drugs Disposal Committees of  the States  and  the Central agencies shall take stock of all such seized contrabands and  take steps for their disposal without any further  verification,  testing or sampling  whatsoever.  The  concerned  heads of the Department shall  personally supervise  the  process  of destruction  of drugs so identified for disposal. To the extent the seized Drugs and Narcotic Substances continue to choke the storage facilities and tempt the unscrupulous to indulge in pilferage and theft for sale or circulation  in  the market,  the disposal  of the stocks will reduce  the  hazards  that go with their continued storage and availability in the market.

Drugs that are seized after May, 1989 and where the trial and appeal and revision have also been finally disposed  of: In this category of cases while  the seizure  may have taken place after the  introduction  of Section  52A in  the Statute  book  the  non-disposal  of the drugs over a long period of time would also make it difficult  to  identify individuals who are responsible for pilferage, theft,  replacement  or such other mischief in  connection with such seized contraband.  The  requirement  of para 5.5 of standing order  No. 1/89 for such drugs to be disposed of after getting the same tested will also be an exercise in futility and impractical at this distant point in time. Since the trials stand concluded and so also the proceedings in appeal, Revision etc. insistence upon sending the sample from such drugs for testing before  the same are disposed of will  be a fruitless exercise which can  be dispensed with having regard to the totality of the circumstances and the conditions prevalent in the maalkhanas  and the so called godowns  and storage facilities. The  DDCs shall accordingly take stock of all such Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic and controlled Substances and Conveyances  in relation  to  which  the  trial  of the accused  persons  has finally concluded and the proceedings  have attained finality at all levels in the judicial hierarchy. The  DDCs shall then take steps to have such stock also  destroyed  under  the direct supervision  of the head of the Department concerned.

Cases in which  the  proceedings  are still  pending  before  the  Courts  at  the  level  of trial court, appellate court or before the Supreme Court: In such cases the heads of the Department concerned shall ensure that appropriate applications are moved by the officers competent to do so under Notification dated 16thJanuary, 2015 before the Drugs Disposal Committees concerned and steps for disposal of such Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic and controlled Substances and Conveyances taken without any further loss of time.

Guidelines regarding seizure and storage of Seized drugs:

  1. No sooner the seizure of any Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic and Controlled Substances and Conveyances is effected, the same shall be forwarded to the officer in-charge of the nearest police station or to the officer empowered under Section 53 of the Act. The officer concerned shall then approach the Magistrate with an application under Section  52A(ii)  of  the Act, which shall  be allowed  by the  Magistrate  as soon as may be required under sub-section  3  of Section  52A,  as discussed  by us in  the body of this judgment  under  the  heading  ‘seizure  and sampling’. The  sampling shall be done under the supervision of the magistrate  as discussed  in  paras  13  and  14 of this order.
  2. The Central Government and its agencies and so also the State Governments shall within six months from today take appropriate steps to set up storage facilities for the exclusive storage of seized Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic and controlled Substances and  Conveyances  duly equipped  with vaults and double locking system  to prevent theft, pilferage or replacement of the seized drugs. The Central Government  and the State Governments shall also designate an officer each for their respective  storage facility and provide  for  other steps,  measures  as stipulated  in Standing  Order  No. 1/89 to ensure proper security against theft, pilferage  or  replacement  of the seized drugs.
  3. The Central Government and the State Governments shall be free to set up a storage facility for each district in the States and depending upon  the extent  of seizure and store required, one storage facility for more than one districts.
  4. Disposal of the seized drugs currently lying in the police maalkhans and other places used for storage shall be carried out by the DDCs concerned in terms of the directions issued by us in the body of this judgment under the heading ‘disposal of drugs’.

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