The supreme court in a recent judgment upheld that mere deficiencies in an investigation relating to NDPS cases or even chinks in prosecution cannot be made the sole basis for concluding bias by the investigation officer.
The accused was acquitted by the trial court. On the appeal of the state, the high court convicted the accused. Before the Apex Court, the contention of the accused was that the investigation by the complainant himself would be contrary to the scheme of the NDPS act and thus jeopardizing the provisions. The court in the case of Mukesh Singh v State observed that it is necessary to prove that there has been actual bias or there is a real likelihood of bias. It is hereby noted that the earlier ground which allowed the acquittal of the accused is no longer present. the same has been reversed today. The bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, Surya Kant, and Hrishikesh Roy said, “Although in some cases, certain actions (or lack thereof) by the Investigating Officer might indicate bias; but mere deficiencies in investigation or chinks in the prosecution case can't be the sole basis for concluding bias. The appellants have at no stage claimed that there existed any enmity or other motive for the police to falsely implicate them and let the real culprit walk free. Further, such a huge quantity of charas could not have been planted against the appellants by the police on its own.”
Another contention that was raised was about the failure of the police to investigate at stage 313 CrPC which caused prejudice and bias against them. The bench rightly stated that how the non-investigation of a defence theory disclosed at an advanced stage of a trial could indicate bias on the part of the police and thus rejected the contention. Further, the accused also contended the non-compliance of section 50 of the NDPS Act at the stage of the appeal. Section 50 states the conditions under which the search of a person shall be conducted.
"As held in State of Himachal Pradesh v. Pawan Kumar, the safeguards for the search of a person would not extend to his bag or other article being carried by them. Given how the narcotics have been discovered from a backpack, as per both the prosecution and defence versions, there arises no need to examine compliance with Section 50 of the NDPS Act."