Telangana High Court Liberally Interprets Sentence of Imprisonment Under the NDPS Act

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The appellants approached the Hon’ble court via an appeal against the judgment of the learned Special sessions judge for trial of cases under Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

Facts

On the 23rd of April 2010, when the Sub-Inspector of police, Mothugudem Police station, was checking the vehicles at Lakkavaram Junction, along with his staff, he intercepted a commander jeep bearing No. AP 5R 9712 and nabbed the appellant carrying 100 kgs of dry ganja in three gunny bags. After considering both the oral and documentary evidence on record, the appellant was held guilty of the offences punishable under SECTION 20(b) and 8(c) of the NDPS Act, 1985 and accordingly was convicted and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for ten years and also to pay a fine of Rs 1,00,000.

Arguments made by petitioners 

He did not submit any ground which would have discredited the prosecution’s witnesses. Summing up his submissions in just a bundle of words, all that can be said is that he was baffled by the narrative put forth by the learned counsel of the respondents and the observations made by the court whilst reaching the judgment.

Arguments made by respondents 

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Notwithstanding, being the counsel of the respondents, the public prosecutor brought to the notice of the Hon’ble Court that the appellant has already undergone the sentence of imprisonment for 6 years. He uprooted the facts of the case and corroborated them with the present facts to help the court pronounce its judgment entirely on the consideration of the submissions along with the prevailing scenario. He went on to describe that it’s been almost 11 years since the incident took place and the appellant, aged 26 years at present, must have repented his mistake of committing the crime. Henceforth, it would be appropriate in the interest of justice, if the court reduces the sentence of imprisonment.

Court’s observation 

The court, after analyzing the submissions made by the learned counsels, seconded the thoughts of the learned counsel of the respondents. It agreed on the fact that the appellant must be freed now so that he can live the rest of his life with dignity and lead the same on the principles of righteousness, morality, and virtue. The court did not delve deep into the aspect of conviction as the learned counsel of the appellant was not able to show any ground, dishonoring the evidence of the prosecution’s witnesses. The court added to its basket of the checklist, the fact that the appellant had already undergone six years four months of imprisonment during the investigation, trial, and after conviction, due to which a liberal interpretation should be adopted whilst determining the sentence of imprisonment.

Court’s Judgement 

The Hon’ble court partly allowed the criminal appeal and reduced the sentence of rigorous imprisonment of ten years, imposed by the Special Sessions Judge for trial of cases under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 to the period already undergone by the appellant, while maintaining the sentence of fine imposed by the trial court.

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Click here to read the Judgement.


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