Gauhati High Court Sets Aside Conviction in NDPS Case Due to Procedural Lapses

The Gauhati High Court has set aside the conviction and sentence of two accused persons under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act due to serious doubts about the validity of the seizure and non-compliance with Section 52A of the Act. The ruling comes as a significant decision emphasizing the importance of adherence to legal procedures in cases involving contraband.

Case Background

The case involved the seizure of eight packets of ganja (weighing approximately 213 kg) from a twelve-wheeler truck near Baihata Chariali in Assam in June 2015. The two accused individuals, described as the truck’s driver and helper, were present at the time of the seizure and were subsequently charged under Sections 20(C) and 29 of the NDPS Act. They were convicted and sentenced by a trial court to ten years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1,00,000 each.

High Court's Observations

The high court reviewed the case in detail and noted multiple shortcomings in the prosecution’s handling of the seizure and subsequent legal processes. Key points from the court’s observations include:

Doubts about Seizure Validity: The court found that the condition of the samples and their weight varied over time without proper explanation. The investigating officer failed to mention how the samples were kept or how they changed in weight.

Lack of Compliance with Section 52A: There was no evidence on record indicating that inventory was prepared after the recovery and arrest of the accused. The court stressed the importance of adhering to Section 52A of the NDPS Act, which outlines procedures for seizing, storing, and handling contraband.

Failure to Certify Inventory: The court found that the investigating agency did not seek certification of the inventory or samples of the seized contraband from the jurisdictional magistrate. This procedural lapse rendered the seized contraband and samples invalid as primary evidence in the trial.

Outcome and Implications

Given the procedural failures, the high court decided to set aside the conviction and sentence of the accused, providing them the benefit of doubt. This decision underscores the need for law enforcement and investigating agencies to adhere strictly to legal requirements when handling NDPS cases to ensure fair trials and the preservation of fundamental rights.


This ruling serves as a reminder of the importance of following legal protocols in drug-related prosecutions. It demonstrates the judiciary’s commitment to upholding the rights of individuals and ensuring that convictions are based on sound evidence and proper legal procedures.


The high court’s decision may influence future NDPS cases by setting a precedent for the careful handling of contraband and ensuring compliance with the procedural safeguards outlined in the Act. This decision not only protects the rights of the accused but also upholds the integrity of the legal process in drug-related cases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Request Call Back