The Supreme Court in its latest decision held that the police officers cannot register FIR, arrest, prosecute or investigate in regard to cognizable offences under Chapter IV of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
A bench comprising of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and KM Joseph held that an arrest can be made by the Drugs Inspector in relation to cognizable offence falling under the Chapter IV of the said Act without any warrant and otherwise treating it as a cognizable offence.
The bench upheld the judgment of Allahabad High Court that had earlier quashed an FIR registered by the Police with respect to an offence registered under Drugs and Cosmetics Act. While dismissing the appeal, the bench made the following conclusions:
- The police officers cannot prosecute in regard to section 32 of Chapter IV of the Act and also the scheme of CrPC. Only the persons mentioned under section 32 are entitled to do so.
- There is no bar to the police officers to investigate and prosecute the person where he has committed an offence, as stated under section 32(3) of the Act.
- A police officer cannot register a FIR under section 154 of the CrPC, in regard to cognizable offences under Chapter IV of the Act and he cannot investigate such offences under the provisions of the CrPC.
- In regard to section 22(1) (d) of the Act, we hold that an arrest can be made by the Drugs Inspector in regard to cognizable offences falling under Chapter IV of the Act without any warrant and otherwise treating it as a cognizable offence.
- By restoring the power under Article 142 of the Constitution of India it would be apparent for the police officers to not to take cognizance of the FIRs registered under Chapter IV of the Act and should be made over to the Drugs Inspectors to take action on the same in accordance with the law.
- Such above stated decision of not giving the powers to police officers to arrest in the said matter will operate with effect from the date of this Judgment.
- It is been directed to the Drugs Inspector who carry out the arrest, must not only report the arrests as provided in section 58 of the CrPC, but also immediately report the arrests to their superior officers.
READ THE FULL JUDGMENT- https://main.sci.gov.in/supremecourt/2019/10817/10817_2019_37_1501_23696_Judgement_28-Aug-2020.pdf.