New Ruling: Drug Cases Require Official Complaint, Not Just Police Allegation

In a notable legal twist, the Supreme Court of India has decreed that allegations under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940 cannot stand solely on a police officer’s complaint. The bench, led by Justices Hrishikesh Roy and Prashant Kumar Mishra, overturned a prior ruling by the High Court, emphasizing that only a complaint lodged by a Drug Inspector can validly initiate proceedings under the Act.

The case, brought by the appellant against criminal charges stemming from the Act, challenged the legitimacy of the police officer’s complaint. The appellant argued that the Act, specifically Section 32(1)(a), does not grant authority to police officers to file FIRs for offenses under the Act.

Concurring with the appellant’s stance, the Supreme Court cited precedent, notably the Union of India v. Ashok Kumar Sharma & Ors., to affirm that the powers vested in Drug Inspectors exclude police officers from initiating proceedings under Chapter IV of the Act. Quoting from the judgment, the court asserted that the Criminal Procedure Code and the Act’s provisions bar police officers from registering FIRs or investigating offenses within the Act’s purview.

Consequently, the court invalidated the proceedings against the appellant, deeming them legally infirm. The appellant’s plea was granted, and the proceedings were quashed accordingly.

This landmark ruling clarifies the procedural requirements for drug-related cases, underscoring the pivotal role of official complaints by designated authorities. In a legal landscape where clarity is paramount, this decision provides a significant precedent for future cases under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940.

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