‘Hazard To Society’: SC Says No Leniency For Narcotic Drug Smugglers

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court on Tuesday said those involved in smuggling of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances are a hazard to society as it junked a Pakistani national’s challenge to a Delhi High Court judgment dismissing his plea seeking concurrent running of sentences in two separate narcotics cases.

A bench of Justices M.R. Shah and B.V. Nagarathna said: “Those persons who are dealing in narcotic drugs are instruments in causing death or in inflicting death blow to a number of innocent young victims who are vulnerable.”

Such accused causes deleterious effects on the society and they are a hazard to the society, it said.

“Such organised activities of clandestine smuggling of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances into this country and illegal trafficking in such drugs and substances have a deadly impact on the society as a whole,” added Justice Shah, who authored the judgment on behalf of the bench.

The top court said no leniency should be shown to an accused who is found to be guilty for the offence under the NDPS Act. “Therefore, while awarding the sentence or punishment in case of NDPS Act, the interest of the society as a whole is required to be taken into consideration,” it added.

The Delhi High Court had dismissed Mohd Zahid’s contention that he was sentenced to 12 years jail in a case by Amritsar court for recovery of four kg of heroin. Therefore, his subsequent sentence of 15 years jail, for recovery of 750 grams of heroin, by a Delhi court should be allowed to run concurrently, or else he would end up incarcerated for 27 years.

However, the top court held that if a person already undergoing a jail term is sentenced in a subsequent conviction, such a prison term would begin at the expiration of the previous imprisonment.

Justice Shah said: “The general rule is that where there are different transactions, different crime numbers and cases have been decided by the different judgements, concurrent sentence cannot be awarded under Section 427 of Criminal Procedure Code.”

Citing Section 427 (1) of the CrPC, the bench said the court has the power and discretion to issue a direction that all the subsequent sentences can run concurrently with the previous sentence.

“Therefore, considering the offences under the NDPS Act which are very serious in nature and against the society at large, no discretion shall be exercised in favour of such accused who is indulging into the offence under the NDPS Act,” said the bench.

The bench emphasised that even while applying discretion under Section 427 of the CrPC, the discretion shall not be in favour of the accused who is found to be indulging in illegal trafficking in the narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.