SK. SAKKAR @ MANNAN
STATE OF WEST BENGAL
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1661 OF 2010, Decided on February 03, 2021
JUDGES– N.V. RAMANA, SURYA KANT & ANIRUDDHA BOSE, JJ.
The accused filed an appeal challenging the Judgement passed by the High Court. On 16.11.1997, a secret information was received owing to which a raid was conducted which resulted in lodging of the FIR under Section 20 the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (“NDPS Act”). 11kgs of ganja was recovered from the accused and the co-accused Kalachand Saha and other 3-4 occupants managed to flee. Therefore, only based upon the statements of the two arrested persons, five persons were charge sheeted but the main co-accused person was not even charge sheeted. Since, no independent witnesses were found and when the other three witnesses turned hostile.. Thus, all the -co-accuseds were acquitted but the Appellant who was main accused was convicted and sentenced with five years rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs. 20,000.
Whether the High Court erred convicting the accused under Section 20 of NDPS Act which came into force in 2001 and the offence was committed in 1997?
The Supreme Court partly allowed the appeal and modified the sentence of five years rigorous imprisonment to the period of sentence already undergone, the bail bond of appellant is discharged but he has to pay the fine of Rs. 20,000. The Court considering various mitigating factors argued by the Counsel of Appellant like (i) the appellant has suffered protracted trial for more than 23 years; (ii) he alone has been convicted while his co-accused are acquitted; (iii) the appellant was not involved in any other case under the NDPS Act or other Penal Laws; (iv) the appellant has already undergone actual sentence of 2 years 4 months and 16 days out of the total sentence of five years; (v) and that the appellant has not misused the concession of bail granted by this Court on 02.11.2012. The Court taking note of such mitigating factor reduced the sentence of the appellant has already undergone actual sentence viz a period of 2 years 4 months and 16 days