‘Pvt automobile not a public place below NDPS Act’

New Delhi, April 17

Holding that a private vehicle is not a ‘public place’ under the NDPS Act, the Supreme Court has acquitted three men accused of possessing poppy, saying they were charged under the wrong section. The verdict came from a Bench headed by Justice UU Lalit which said recovery of a banned substance from a private vehicle parked on a public road wouldn’t be covered under Section 43 of the NDPS Act – the provision used for recovery of the banned substance.

However, such cases can be covered under Section 42 of the Act, the Bench said allowing an appeal against an order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court that had upheld the conviction and sentence awarded to the accused under the NDPS Act. While Section 43 of the NDPS deals with the power of seizure and arrest in a public place, Section 42 gives a designated officer powers of ‘entry, search, seizure or arrest’ in a suspected narcotics case.

Two bags of poppy straw were recovered from the accused while they were sitting in a jeep at a public place at Rori-Jatana road in Haryana. — TNS

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