HRLN’s lawyer establish prosecution's failure to prove that authorized officer seized the ganja from conscious possession of appellants


Case title: Sarvesh Kumar Pandey & Anr. Vs. State of Assam; Criminal Appeal No. 91 of 2013 & 85 of 2014; Gauhati High Court Synopsis: The abovementioned appeals arose out of the common judgment and order, dated 31-10-2012, passed by the learned Special Judge, Jorhat, in Special Case No. 8/2010 (arising out of G.R. Case No. 1476/2010). For the sake of convenience, both the appeals were heard together and disposed of by a common judgment and order. On 17-11-2010, havildar Sri Uday Pratap Singh (PW-1) of Police Reserve, Jorhat, while traveling in a train from Dimapur to Jorhat, found that the appellants, who were his co-passengers, were carrying two VIP bags and one airbag in a suspicious manner. At Jorhat Railway Station, he noticed that the appellants, while alighting from the train took the back door of the train, which strengthened his suspicion. Therefore, suspecting them to have carried ganja, Sri Uday Pratap Singh and Sri Dipak Charingia (PW-3), followed and apprehended them near the gate of the bungalow of the Superintendent of Police, Jorhat, and informed the police. On being so informed, SI Sri Hemen Das (PW-9), obtaining an authority letter, arrived at the said place and after opening the said bags, in presence of witnesses, found that ganja was carried by the appellants in the said bags. The PW-9 seized 27 kgs of ganja from the bags carried by the accused Sri Sarvesh Kumar Pandey and 13 kgs of ganja from the bag carried by accused Sri Rajendra Prasad and thus, 40 kgs of ganja was seized from the accused persons. In order to prove its case the prosecution examined eleven witnesses. The two accused were sentenced to suffer ten years of rigorous imprisonment and to pay fine of Rs. one Lakh under Section 20(b)(ii)(C) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. Status (In court): In their appeal, HRLN’s lawyer was able to establish that the prosecution had failed to prove that the authorized officer had seized the ganja from the conscious possession of the appellants. The appeals were allowed through judgment dated 11-02-2016 and the impugned conviction and sentence were set aside.