Case Title: Budhiarin Bai Vs. State of Chhattisgarh
Bench: Justices Ajay Rastogi and Ct. Ravi Kumar
Citation: Criminal Appeal No(s). 1218 of 2022
The Supreme Court on Wednesday reduced the sentence of the accused, considering the age of the poor illiterate woman accused in the NDPS case.
Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice C.T. Ravikumar said that “there should be no leniency in such cases, especially, when the offense has been proved beyond doubt and the conviction has been upheld by the High Court under Section 20(b)(ii)(c) of the NDPS Act. Are. ,
In this case, the appellant is a poor illiterate woman and a senior citizen at the time of the alleged incident, on whom commercial quantity of illegal 'Ganja' (Bhang) of 05 quintals and 21.5 kgs was found along with her two children for which Section of NDPS Act 20(b)(ii)(c) was charged.
The other co-accused were charged under Section 27A of the NDPS Act of delivering illegal cannabis to a house which was in the possession of the accused-appellant and thereby facilitated the smuggling of cannabis by the appellant and his two children .
The Trial Court convicted the appellant of the offense under section 20(b)(ii)(c) of the NDPS Act and acquitted the other four persons of all charges and sentenced the appellant to rigorous imprisonment for 15 years and fine.
The High Court upheld the conviction of the appellant.
The appeal has been filed against the judgment and order upholding the conviction of the appellant for the offense under section 20 (b) (ii) (c) of the NDPS Act.
The issue of consideration before the bench was:
Whether the appellant is guilty of an offense under section 20(b)(ii)(c) of the NDPS Act?
The Supreme Court held that neither the trial court nor the High Court has denied that the woman was illiterate and a senior citizen, but completely ignorant of the law, with two grown children, at any time in her lifetime as a criminal. The previous background of the case was not involved.
The bench observed that “it is a danger to the society; No leniency should be shown towards the accused persons found guilty under the NDPS Act. But upholding the same, this Court cannot be ignorant of other facts and circumstances as inferred in the present case that an old illiterate woman of rural background, who was a senior citizen at the time of the alleged incident, was residing in that house. . Her husband and two elder children who may be in trafficking, but the prosecution failed to investigate and take into account the procedural compliance required under sections 42, 50 and 55 of the NDPS Act, convicted the appellant for the reason that he was living in that house but at the same time completely ignored the fact that other co-accused were also living in the same house and what was their business, and who were they who were involved in trafficking and supplied supplies. psychotropic substances, the prosecution never cared to investigate. ,
In view of the above, the Supreme Court, after considering the old age of the appellant, who is a poor illiterate woman who is completely unaware of the consequences, reduced the sentence to 12 years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1 Lac.