End delay in drug case trials: SC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought concrete suggestions in the form of general guidelines from the Union government to reduce the inordinate delay in trial of cases registered under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

A bench of Justices D K Jain and J S Khehar also sought to know from the director general, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) of the Ministry of Home Affairs the exact number of pending drugs cases and the special courts set up to try these cases across the country.

“We want general guidelines. You have to tell us how many cases are pending in the country,” the bench told the DG, NCB who appeared in personThe court also posed a query if it was possible for NCB to monitor the progress of the trial in NDPS cases as other agencies were prosecuting  drugs cases in different states.Perusing the NDPS Act, the court said it was the obligation of the central government to monitor those cases. After going through the note submitted by amicus curiae, the court noted that in several states there were no special courts to try these cases.

The court directed that a meeting of the top brass of NCB, Central Bureau of Narcotics, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), customs and excise and state police should be held on November 29 in the presence of additional solicitor general P P Malhotra to suggest ways to drastically reduce the time taken to dispose off cases registered for drug peddling, trafficking and possession of contraband.

The court allowed a plea by Malhotra, appearing for the Centre, for time to provide concrete suggestions after discussing with all the stakeholders.The court posted the matter to December 4. 

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