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Cops Can Search Druglord's House In Magistrate's Absence: SC

Herb Fellow

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The Supreme Court has ruled that the police can carryout search operations at the premises of an accused in a drugs-related offence even in the absence of a gazetted officer or a magistrate.

The question of ensuring mandatory presence of a gazetted officer or a magistrate would arise only when the search relates to search of a person, a bench of Justices S B Sinha and V S Sirpurkar said.

"The right of the search being taken only in presence of magistrate or a gazetted officer is restricted where the search is to be taken of a 'person' of the accused," the apex court said while dismissing the appeal of Ghasita Sahu.

Sahu had filed the appeal against the sentence of five years imposed by the trial court for being in unauthorised possession of Ganja under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) which was affirmed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

In the apex court, Sahu took the plea that his conviction was unsustainable as the investigating agency did not follow the procedure of conducting a search of his house in the presence of a magistrate or a gazetted officer and cited section 42 of the NDPS Act to buttress his argument.

However, the apex court interpreting section 42 of the Act in conjunction with Section 100 of CrPC reasoned that the presence of the magistrate or a gazetted officer was not required for conducting search at a person's house.

Source: Outlook India
Copyright: 2008, PTI
Contact: PTI News
Website: outlookindia.com | wired
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