Police can’t arrest, register FIRs under Drugs Act, Drugs Inspector can arrest: SC

The top court said with regard to cognisable offences mentioned under Chapter IV of the Act, arrests could be made by the drugs inspector without any warrant

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Justice Court
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Last Updated on December 11, 2023 by The Health Master

Police officers can’t register FIRs, make arrests, prosecute or investigate in regard to cognisable offences under Chapter IV of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, which deals with the manufacture, sale and distribution of drugs and cosmetics, the Supreme Court has ruled.

A Bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, however, said its ruling “that police officers don’t have the power to arrest in respect of cognisable offences under Chapter IV of the Act will operate with effect from the date of this judgment”.

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The verdict, having serious implications in drugs cases being investigated by the police, came on an appeal filed by the Centre challenging a ruling of the Allahabad High Court that had quashed an FIR registered by the police with respect to an offence registered under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

The top court said with regard to cognisable offences mentioned under Chapter IV of the Act, arrests could be made by the drugs inspector without any warrant and otherwise, treating it as a cognisable offence.

Taking note of the fact that the police have registered many cases in regard to cognisable offences under Chapter IV of the Act, the court said such cases should be shifted to drugs inspectors, if not done already, for further action in accordance with the law.

‘Let’s talk about the positives of judiciary’

Supreme Court judge DY Chandrachud on Saturday sought to highlight the work being done by the judiciary. “For a change, let’s talk about the positives of the judiciary system. When international courts have been talking about single-digit figures, we are talking about hundreds of thousands of cases which have been disposed of,” he said.


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