New Delhi: A Constitution bench of the
Supreme Court today ruled that a suspect caught for possession
of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances has to be
searched in front of a gazetted officer or a magistrate as
otherwise the prosecution would become illegal.
The apex court said the purpose of laying such a
safeguard under Section 50(1) of the Narcotic Drugs and
Psychotropic Substances was to ensure that innocent persons
are not falsely implicated by law enforcement agencies and
hence the provision has to be strictly complied with.
The bench further said it would be even better if the
suspect is searched before a judicial magistrate as that would
lend more credence to the claim of the prosecution.
"We are of the firm opinion that the object with which
right under Section 50(1) of the NDPS Act, by way of a
safeguard, has been conferred on the suspect, viz. to check
the misuse of power, to avoid harm to innocent persons and to
minimise the allegations of planting or foisting of false
cases by the law enforcement agencies, it would be imperative
on the part of the empowered officer to apprise the person
intended to be searched of his right to be searched before a
gazetted officer or a Magistrate.