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Confessional statements U/S 67 NDPS Act are not admissible in evidence: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court reiterated that a confession recorded under Section 67 of the NDPS Act is not admissible in evidence.

The court pointed out that the manner in which the appellant in this case was apprehended and taken to the NCB office, Ahmedabad in the alleged exercise of recording his statement under Section 67 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act), was full of “doubt and creates serious suspicion.

Judge Sandeep Mehta And Judge Prasanna Bhalachandra Varale noticed, “The confession of the accused recorded under Section 67 of the NDPS Act cannot be admitted into evidence as confession as in the case of Tofan Singh (supra). Therefore, the confessional statement (Exhibit-42) does not provide any assistance to the prosecution in its quest to prove the charges against the accused Firdoskhan (A-2).

AOR TN Singh represented the appellant, while Lawyer Deepanwita Priyanka aappeared before the respondents.

The courts had convicted the appellants for the offenses under Section 21 read with Section 8(c) and Section 29 of the NDPS Act, following the seizure of contraband/illegal substances. The prosecution, led by intelligence officers, presented evidence indicating the possession and trafficking of narcotics by the appellants.

The appellant submitted that the incriminating evidence recorded by NCB officials under Section 67 of the NDPS Act, relied upon by both the Tribunal and the Supreme Court, should be disregarded in the light of the Supreme Court’s judgment in case Tofan Singh v. State of Tamil Nadu (2021) 4 SCC 1.

The Court stated that the admissibility of confessional statement of an accused recorded under Section 67 of the NDPS Act was examined in the case Tofan Singh case (supra) wherein it was held that such confessional statements were not admissible in evidence.

Therefore, the statement… in which he allegedly identified appellant Firdoskhan (A-2) as the person who had escaped from the spot cannot be read as evidence against appellant Firdoskhan (A-2) because the manner in which the said statement was recorded leaves much to be desired and creates serious doubts as to its sanctity, besides the fact that the same has been declared inadmissible on the ground of Tofan Singh,‘ the Court ruled.

The Court rejected the evidence adduced by the NCB officials and stated that the evidence purporting to have identified the identity of the appellant was neither reliable nor corroborated by any other independent evidence. Second, the identification of appellant occurred more than two years after the date of the incident.

The court therefore acquitted the suspect and upheld the conviction of another.

Title of Cause: Firdoskhan Khurshidkhan v. State of Gujarat and Anr. (Neutral citation: 2024 INSC 351)

Appearance:

Appellant: AOR TN Singh; Advocates Vikas Kumar Singh and Rajshree Singh

Respondents: AOR Swati Ghildiyal and Arvind Kumar Sharma; Advocates for Deepanwita Priyanka, Devyani Bhatt, Padmesh Mishra, Arkaj Kumar and Zoheb Hussain

Click here to read/download the judgment