A trial court in Meghalaya has opined that a Charge Sheet submitted without a forensic science report attached to it, will be deemed as incomplete, and will not be accepted by the Court. The observation was made while hearing a matter concerning a person accused under the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act.
The matter was taken up by Special Judge (NDPS) at East Khasi Hills District, Shillong. The petition was filed by Smt. Susanna Lyngdoh, wife of the accused Khir Bahadur Tamang. The petitioner was represented by Learned Counsel Shri. Netra Kumar Rai.
The order read, “In the absence of FSL report, the Court cannot proceed with the case as the Chemical Analysis Report is a vital document to ascertain the quality and quantity of the seized contraband and as such without trial is not justified to remand the accused person on every production date on a Mechanical manner.”
The order came while hearing the bail application of the accused, who has been imprisoned for over 5 months for being accused of an offense under Section 21(b) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
The Counsel for the petitioner submitted that “the investigation of the instant case is complete and the Investigating Officer has already filed the Charge Sheet bearing Charge Sheet No. 16 of 2020 on 27.04.2020 and as such further detention of the accused person for the purpose of the investigation is not warranted.”
Citing that due to prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, the commencement of a proper trial may take time, the Counsel prayed to the Court for granting bail to the accused. Acceding to the plea, Public Prosecutor Shri S. S. Das also submitted that he had no objection to granting bail to the accused.
The Court noted that the Police had filed a Charge Sheet on 27 April 2020 for the seizure of 43.34 grams of contraband from the accused. The quantity recovered falls under the “intermediate quantity” range. However, police have not submitted the FSL report before the Court.
The Investigating Officer informed the Court that the FSl Report is still pending before the forensic laboratory in Shillong, and submitted that the supplementary Charge Sheet will be submitted along with the FSL report. The Court refuted their contention and told them not to cause any delay in furnishing the FSL Report. It said, “It is clear that the accused person is in custody for more than 5 months, but till date FSL report has not reached this Court nor any steps taken in respect of the pending FSL report. Further, in the absence of the Chemical Analysis Report, the Charge Sheet submitted by the I/O cannot be considered to be completed Charge Sheet.”
“It is difficult for the Court to come to the conclusion that the seized article is a contraband article and it cannot be analyzed as to what is the quantity and quality of the contraband,” the Court added.
Mentioning stringent provisions of the NDPS Act, the Court contradictorily showed concerns towards the liberty of the accused person and granted him bail for an amount of Rs 2,00,000, with two sureties of the like amount.