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DB modifies sentence in NDPS case
4/4/2024 11:24:17 PM

Early Times Report

Jammu, Apr 4: A Division Bench of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh Justice Sanjay Dhar and Justice Puneet Gupta modified the sentence awarded in NDPS case from 12 years RI to 10 years RI.
Through the medium of present appeal, the appellant Nisar Ahmed Bhat has challenged judgment dated 31.05.2022 passed by the learned Principal Sessions (Special Judge), Jammu(hereinafter to be referred as the trial court), whereby in a case arising out of NCB Crime No. 01/2017 for offences under Sections 8, 20 and 60 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (for short the NDPS Act), the appellant has been convicted of offences under Sections 8/20 of the NDPS Act and by virtue of a separate order passed on the same date, he has been sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of 12 years and to pay a fine of rupees one lac.
According to the case that on the basis of the complaint filed by Narcotics Control Bureau, Jammu accused Nisar Ahmad Bhat, Ghulam Nabi and Firdous Ahmad Bhat have been prosecuted for the offences punishable under section 8/20/60 of NDPS Act. As per the complaint, secret information which was received by Intelligence Off.cer Jammu on 17.03.2017 at 0900 hrs, a naka was laid at Kunjwan. at 1830 hrs The secret information which was received the said Intelligence Officer was regarding transportation of ^taras by accused Nisar Ahmed Bhat driver of truck bearing registration No. JK03C- 9491 and its delivery by him to accused Ghulam Nabi at Kunjwani Chowk Jammu on the said date. Naka was laid and the said truck was found at Kunjwani and was moving towards Kathua. The truck was stopped by the Intelligence Officer and accused Nisar Ahmed and Ghulam Nabi were in the truck and on checking the said vehicle, both the accused were found to be seated in the truck and on search two packets wrapped with brown cell tape containing 40 round shape brown coloured balls ( 20 balls in each packet) weighing 05 kgs were recovered from the truck. The recovered material as tested with Drug Detection Kit which resulted positive for charas. On weighing the net weight of the charas was found 3.928 kgs. Both the accused could not give any explanation regarding the possession of the said contraband.
DB after hearing Adv IH Bhat for the appellant whereas DSGI Vishal Sharma for the NCB, observed that the question regarding quantum of punishment, the learned trial court has awarded punishment of rigours imprisonment of 12 years and a fine of rupees one lac upon the appellant in proof of offences under Sections 8 and 20 of the NDPS Act. In default of payment of fine, the appellant has been asked to undergo further simple imprisonment for a period of six months. Section 20(C) of the NDPS Act prescribes punishment of not less than 10 years of rigorous imprisonment, which may extend to 20 years with fine, which shall not be less than one lac rupees but may extend to rupees two lacs in a case involving commercial quantity of contraband. In the instant case, there is nothing on record to show that the appellant has any previous history of committing similar offences or for that matter any criminal background. It has come in evidence on record that the appellant was only a carrier of the contraband who had done so for a small amount of Rs. 10,000/-. It can be safely stated that the appellant is not the kingpin of the crime that has taken place but he is merely a pawn. In these circumstances, he deserves to be imposed a lesser punishment equivalent to the minimum punishment prescribed under Section 20(C) of the NDPS Act. 46. Apart from the above, the learned trial court has erred in awarding simple imprisonment for default in payment of fine, while awarding rigorous imprisonment to the appellant. This is contrary to Section 66 of the RPC, which provides that imprisonment imposed in default of payment of fine, may be of the description of which the offender might have been sentenced for the offence.
With these observations, DB modified the order of sentence passed by the learned trial court and impose sentence of rigorous imprisonment of 10 years with a fine of Rs. one lac upon the appellant. In default of payment of fine, the appellant shall undergo further rigorous imprisonment for a period of six months. (JNF)
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