In the case of Tofan Singh vs. State of Tamil Nadu (2013) 16 SCC 31, the Supreme Court observed that the officers designated under Section 53 of the NDPS Act are to be given all the investigative powers vested in an officer in charge of a police station under the CrPC,1973. The power to file a charge-sheet is also ought to be vested with a designated officer under the NDPS Act. This judgment overruled the landmark case of Raj Kumar Karwal vs. Union of India (1990) 2 SCC 409, which rejected the contention that an officer appointed under the Section 53 of the Act is not entitled to exercise all the powers that are vested with a police officer under Chapter XII of the CrPC. In the instant case, the Apex Court observed that the decision to exclude the officers under the NDPS Act would create a major lacuna in the NDPS Act, which cannot be filled. In cases where a designated officer under Section 53 of the Act investigates a case and observes that no offense is made out unless such an officer is given powers to make a police report to the special court stating that no offense had been made out and use the power contained under Section 169 of CrPC to pronounce the accused not-guilty, an innocent would be made to suffer unnecessarily.
It was also observed in the case of Raj Kumar Karwal that the courts did not properly elucidate the distinction between the investigative powers of an officer appointed under the statutes which are meant for revenue or railways, as supposed to the officers who are designated under Section 53 of the NDPS Act. All the offenses investigated by the officers under the NDPS Act are cognizable, and unlike other statutes, NDPS Act does not prescribe any limitation upon the powers of the officer to investigate an offense under the Act. Hence, it is pivotal that all the investigating powers vested in an officer in charge of a police station under that CrPC, including the powers to file a charge sheet are to be vested in these officers appointed under the NDPS Act.