The Question of Substantial Compliance of Section 50, Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances act, 1985

  • Abhishek Gurawa
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  • Abhishek Gurawa

    Advocate at Delhi High Court and Supreme Court of India.

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The seizures of Narcotics have seen a steady rise recently, and each case is governed by its own complexities. The most important provision regarding extension of protection to the accused against a false narrative which might be created by the Police for framing a person under the NDPS Act, 1985, is perhaps Section 50; it is also safe to assume that this provision is the only safeguard provided to the accused before search and seizure in case of personal search of the accused. In June 2020, the Delhi High Court referred a question of waiving off of legal right under Section 50 by the accused person who is to be searched to a division bench. The complex subject of substantial compliance of Section 50 has been incredibly controversial, which it still remains, as it is seen that the Police still take the provision very lightly, a provision carrying mandatory compliance to the letter under Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. Since 1994, i.e., after the judgement of the Balbir Singh case, the Supreme Court, until the Jadeja Case in 2011, gave certain judgements which caused fallacies in the interpretation of Section 50, leading to wrongful convictions. In this paper, we try to understand the issue by looking at how, tearing through the complex arguments, the Supreme Court has interpreted this law clear as day.




International Journal of Legal Science and Innovation, Volume 3, Issue 3, Page 62 - 69


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