Five Years on, Supreme Court to Decide Law on Confession in Drugs Cases
A three-judge bench has begun hearing of the clutch of cases, which have been pending adjudication since October 2013.
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New Delhi: Five years on, the Supreme Court has finally set out to decide a controversy whether an officer investigating narcotics cases can qualify as a police officer or not, and the evidentiary value of confession recorded by him.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi has begun hearing of the clutch of cases, which have been pending adjudication since October 2013.
The reference order for the larger bench came after the court, by an order in July, reminded the Chief Justice of India that scores of cases across the country were awaiting the final word from the apex court.
The issue for adjudication relates to interpretation of relevant provisions of the Narcotics Drugs Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
In view of contrary decisions by the Supreme Court in different cases, a two-judge bench had in 2013 requested the CJI to constitute a larger bench to settle the point of law.
The first question for adjudication was whether the officer investigating the matter under the NDPS Act would qualify as police officer or not.
The second issue in the reference order in Titan Singh Vs State of Tamil Nadu was whether a statement recorded under Section 67 of the NDPS Act can in law be a confessional statement or not.
In 2016, a three-judge bench took up the matter but could not decide and the judge hearing this bench, namely Justice JS Khehar, retired.
Subsequently in July, another bench reminded the CJI about pendency of this case, citing pendency of such cases in the Supreme Court as well as in various high courts.
A three-judge bench, also comprising Justices Navin Sinha and KM Joseph, have now set about to deliver the final word on the contentious points.
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