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SEBI.S
GOVT. LAW COLLEGE,
ERNAKULAM.
Karnail Singh
v.
State of Haryana, (2009) 8 SCC 539
COURT
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA.
APPELLANT
Karnail Singh
RESPONDENT
State of Haryana
CONSTITUTIONAL BENCH
Justice K.G. Balakrishnan
Justice R.V. Raveendran
Justice D.K. Jain
Justice P. Sathasivam
Justice J.M. Panchal
AUTHOR OF THE JUDGEMENT
Justice P Sathasivam
Facts of the case
 Inspector of Police got information that Mr. K was
trying to transport ‘Ganja’ in a car to neighbouring
city. Immediately thereafter, Inspector left the police
station and reached the spot where after sometime
Mr.K came in a car. Inspector stopped K and
searched the car which had many bundles of Ganja.
K was arrested and put on trial. K took defence of
non compliance of Section 42 of NDPS Act,1985.
ISSUE
Whether compliance of section 42 is mandatory?
SECTION 42
Power of entry, search, seizure and arrest without warrant or
authorisation.—
(1) Provided that if an officer authorized by law has reason to
believe that a search warrant or authorisation cannot be
obtained without affording opportunity for the concealment of
evidence or facility for the escape of an offender, he may
enter and search such building, conveyance or enclosed
place at any time between sunset and sunrise after recording
the grounds of his belief.
(2) Where an officer takes down any information in writing under
sub-section (1) or records grounds for his belief under the
proviso thereto, he shall
forthwith send a copy thereof to his immediate official
superior.
Sub-section (2) as replaced by Amendment of 2001:
(2)Where an officer takes down any information in writing under
SECTION 42
Section 42(2)
Sending report to
the superior
officer
Section 42(1)
Noting down
information
FORTHWITH
BEFORE 2.10.2001
72 HOURS
ON AND AFTER
2.10.2001
Two parts of this section
Abdul Rashid Ibrahim Mansuri v. State
of Gujarat, (2000) 2 SCC 513
 Inspector of Police got information that one Mr. Iqbal was
trying to transport charas to Shahpur in an autorickshaw.
The police took the vehicle to the police station and found
ten packets of charas. When appellant/accused was
questioned, he did not dispute the fact that he rode the
autorickshaw. His defence was that those bags with charas
were brought in a truck at Chokha Bazar by two persons
who unloaded them into his vehicle and directed him to
transport the same to the destination mentioned by them.
He carried out the assignment without knowing what were
the contents of the load in the bags.
 The Trial Court acquitted the accused. But, State of Gujarat
preferred an appeal before the High Court. The Division
Bench of the High Court set aside the order of acquittal and
convicted the accused of the offences charged. The
convicted accused filed SLP and the case came before the
Supreme Court. The defence counsel contended that there
was non-compliance of Section 42 of the Act which was
Referring Section 42 of the Act and the evidence of
police officer, the Court held that:
 (1) he should have taken down the information in
writing; and
 (2) he should have sent forthwith a copy thereof to
his immediate official superior.
 Finally the three judge bench held that non-
recording of the vital information collected by the
police at the first instance can be counted as a
circumstance in favour of the accused. On analyzing,
the court ultimately allowed the appeal filed by the
accused/appellant and set aside the conviction and
sentence passed on him by the High Court and
restored the order of acquittal passed in his favour by
the trial court. The ratio in Abdul Rashid is that the
non-recording of vital information collected by the
police at the first instance can be counted as a
Sajan Abraham v. State of Kerala,
(2001) 6 SCC 692
 As per the prosecution case, the appellant was in
possession of a manufactured drug at Palluruthy. The Head
Constable, and two other Constables of the Special Squad
got information that a person was selling injectable narcotic
and they informed this to Sub-Inspector of Police, Palluruthy
Cusba Police Station, who was on a patrol duty and coming
in a jeep along with his police party. They found the accused
and he was arrested. The charge-sheet was submitted, the
appellant pleaded not guilty. The trial court found
discrepancies in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses
and thus disbelieved the prosecution story, hence acquitted
the appellant.
 The High Court, on reappraisal of the evidence, came to the
conclusion that the Trial Court was not justified in acquitting
the appellant. It held that the prosecution has established
with positive evidence beyond reasonable doubt that the
appellant has committed an offence punishable under
 The appeal came before the three judge bench of the
Supreme Court and the Learned counsel for the appellant
submitted that the prosecution has violated the mandatory
provisions under Section 42, Section 50 and Section 57 of
Act and hence conviction and sentence is liable to be set
aside. Here the Court observed that if in a case, the strict
following of a mandate results in delay in trapping an
accused, which may lead the accused to escape, then the
prosecution case should not be thrown out. It is also clear
that when substantial compliance has been made, it
would not vitiate the prosecution case.
 On these facts, this Court found that no inference could
be drawn that there has been violation of Section 42 of
Act.
 In view of the conflicting opinions regarding the scope and
applicability of Section 42 of the Act in the matter of
conducting search, seizure and arrest without warrant or
ARGUMENTS BY THE APPELLANT
The defence counsel contended that there was non-
compliance of Section 42 of the Act , which was
enough to vitiate the search as a whole and prayed
the court to follow the ratio in Abdul Rashid Ibrahim
Mansuri v. State of Gujarat.
ARGUMENTS BY THE RESPONDENT
The State of Haryana contended that when
substantial compliance has been made, it would not
vitiate the prosecution case and prayed that the ratio
in Sajan Abraham v. State of Kerala be followed by
the Court.
OBSERVATION AND DECISION IN KARNAIL
SINGH CASE.
Court held that total non-compliance of section 42 is
impermissible.
Justified delay
Court observed that if any delay may results in the
accused escaping or the goods or evidence being
destroyed or removed, not recording in writing the
information received before initiating action or non-
sending a copy of such information to the official superior
forthwith may not be treated as violation of section 42.
[ In special circumstances involving emergent situations, the
recording of the information in writing and sending a copy
thereof to the official superior may get postponed by a
reasonable period, that is after the search, entry and
seizure.]
Unjustified delay
But if the information was received when the police
officer was in the police station with sufficient time to
take action, and if the police officer fails to send a
copy thereof to the official superior then it will be a
suspicious circumstance being a clear violation of
section 42 of the Act. Similarly, where the police
officer does not record the information at all, and
does not inform the official superior at all, then also it
will be a clear violation of section 42 of the Act.
This verdict further strengthened the amendment of
section 42 with effect from 2.10.2001 relaxing the
time for sending the information from forthwith to
within 72 hours.
SECTION 42
[SEARCH AND ARREST
WITHOUT WARRANT]
Sajan Abraham v.
State of Kerala
(2001)
Karnail Singh v.
State Of
Haryana (2009)
Abdul Rashid Ibrahim
Mansuri v. State of
Gujarat(2000)
Compliance of section 42
is NOT
MANDATORY(CONVICTE
D)
Compliance of
section 42
depends upon
urgency and
expediency
Compliance of section
42 is MANDATORY
( ACQUITTED)
Substantial
compliance is
sufficient
Sending report
to official
superior
Write
Information
CONCLUSION
 The Honourable Supreme Court in this case held
that non-compliance of Section 42 is impermissible,
but strict compliance depends upon urgency and
emergency.
Thank you

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Supreme Court Rules on Compliance of Section 42 of NDPS Act

  • 1. SEBI.S GOVT. LAW COLLEGE, ERNAKULAM. Karnail Singh v. State of Haryana, (2009) 8 SCC 539
  • 2. COURT SUPREME COURT OF INDIA. APPELLANT Karnail Singh RESPONDENT State of Haryana CONSTITUTIONAL BENCH Justice K.G. Balakrishnan Justice R.V. Raveendran Justice D.K. Jain Justice P. Sathasivam Justice J.M. Panchal AUTHOR OF THE JUDGEMENT Justice P Sathasivam
  • 3. Facts of the case  Inspector of Police got information that Mr. K was trying to transport ‘Ganja’ in a car to neighbouring city. Immediately thereafter, Inspector left the police station and reached the spot where after sometime Mr.K came in a car. Inspector stopped K and searched the car which had many bundles of Ganja. K was arrested and put on trial. K took defence of non compliance of Section 42 of NDPS Act,1985.
  • 4. ISSUE Whether compliance of section 42 is mandatory? SECTION 42 Power of entry, search, seizure and arrest without warrant or authorisation.— (1) Provided that if an officer authorized by law has reason to believe that a search warrant or authorisation cannot be obtained without affording opportunity for the concealment of evidence or facility for the escape of an offender, he may enter and search such building, conveyance or enclosed place at any time between sunset and sunrise after recording the grounds of his belief. (2) Where an officer takes down any information in writing under sub-section (1) or records grounds for his belief under the proviso thereto, he shall forthwith send a copy thereof to his immediate official superior. Sub-section (2) as replaced by Amendment of 2001: (2)Where an officer takes down any information in writing under
  • 5. SECTION 42 Section 42(2) Sending report to the superior officer Section 42(1) Noting down information FORTHWITH BEFORE 2.10.2001 72 HOURS ON AND AFTER 2.10.2001 Two parts of this section
  • 6. Abdul Rashid Ibrahim Mansuri v. State of Gujarat, (2000) 2 SCC 513  Inspector of Police got information that one Mr. Iqbal was trying to transport charas to Shahpur in an autorickshaw. The police took the vehicle to the police station and found ten packets of charas. When appellant/accused was questioned, he did not dispute the fact that he rode the autorickshaw. His defence was that those bags with charas were brought in a truck at Chokha Bazar by two persons who unloaded them into his vehicle and directed him to transport the same to the destination mentioned by them. He carried out the assignment without knowing what were the contents of the load in the bags.  The Trial Court acquitted the accused. But, State of Gujarat preferred an appeal before the High Court. The Division Bench of the High Court set aside the order of acquittal and convicted the accused of the offences charged. The convicted accused filed SLP and the case came before the Supreme Court. The defence counsel contended that there was non-compliance of Section 42 of the Act which was
  • 7. Referring Section 42 of the Act and the evidence of police officer, the Court held that:  (1) he should have taken down the information in writing; and  (2) he should have sent forthwith a copy thereof to his immediate official superior.  Finally the three judge bench held that non- recording of the vital information collected by the police at the first instance can be counted as a circumstance in favour of the accused. On analyzing, the court ultimately allowed the appeal filed by the accused/appellant and set aside the conviction and sentence passed on him by the High Court and restored the order of acquittal passed in his favour by the trial court. The ratio in Abdul Rashid is that the non-recording of vital information collected by the police at the first instance can be counted as a
  • 8. Sajan Abraham v. State of Kerala, (2001) 6 SCC 692  As per the prosecution case, the appellant was in possession of a manufactured drug at Palluruthy. The Head Constable, and two other Constables of the Special Squad got information that a person was selling injectable narcotic and they informed this to Sub-Inspector of Police, Palluruthy Cusba Police Station, who was on a patrol duty and coming in a jeep along with his police party. They found the accused and he was arrested. The charge-sheet was submitted, the appellant pleaded not guilty. The trial court found discrepancies in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses and thus disbelieved the prosecution story, hence acquitted the appellant.  The High Court, on reappraisal of the evidence, came to the conclusion that the Trial Court was not justified in acquitting the appellant. It held that the prosecution has established with positive evidence beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant has committed an offence punishable under
  • 9.  The appeal came before the three judge bench of the Supreme Court and the Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the prosecution has violated the mandatory provisions under Section 42, Section 50 and Section 57 of Act and hence conviction and sentence is liable to be set aside. Here the Court observed that if in a case, the strict following of a mandate results in delay in trapping an accused, which may lead the accused to escape, then the prosecution case should not be thrown out. It is also clear that when substantial compliance has been made, it would not vitiate the prosecution case.  On these facts, this Court found that no inference could be drawn that there has been violation of Section 42 of Act.  In view of the conflicting opinions regarding the scope and applicability of Section 42 of the Act in the matter of conducting search, seizure and arrest without warrant or
  • 10. ARGUMENTS BY THE APPELLANT The defence counsel contended that there was non- compliance of Section 42 of the Act , which was enough to vitiate the search as a whole and prayed the court to follow the ratio in Abdul Rashid Ibrahim Mansuri v. State of Gujarat. ARGUMENTS BY THE RESPONDENT The State of Haryana contended that when substantial compliance has been made, it would not vitiate the prosecution case and prayed that the ratio in Sajan Abraham v. State of Kerala be followed by the Court.
  • 11. OBSERVATION AND DECISION IN KARNAIL SINGH CASE. Court held that total non-compliance of section 42 is impermissible. Justified delay Court observed that if any delay may results in the accused escaping or the goods or evidence being destroyed or removed, not recording in writing the information received before initiating action or non- sending a copy of such information to the official superior forthwith may not be treated as violation of section 42. [ In special circumstances involving emergent situations, the recording of the information in writing and sending a copy thereof to the official superior may get postponed by a reasonable period, that is after the search, entry and seizure.]
  • 12. Unjustified delay But if the information was received when the police officer was in the police station with sufficient time to take action, and if the police officer fails to send a copy thereof to the official superior then it will be a suspicious circumstance being a clear violation of section 42 of the Act. Similarly, where the police officer does not record the information at all, and does not inform the official superior at all, then also it will be a clear violation of section 42 of the Act. This verdict further strengthened the amendment of section 42 with effect from 2.10.2001 relaxing the time for sending the information from forthwith to within 72 hours.
  • 13. SECTION 42 [SEARCH AND ARREST WITHOUT WARRANT] Sajan Abraham v. State of Kerala (2001) Karnail Singh v. State Of Haryana (2009) Abdul Rashid Ibrahim Mansuri v. State of Gujarat(2000) Compliance of section 42 is NOT MANDATORY(CONVICTE D) Compliance of section 42 depends upon urgency and expediency Compliance of section 42 is MANDATORY ( ACQUITTED) Substantial compliance is sufficient Sending report to official superior Write Information
  • 14. CONCLUSION  The Honourable Supreme Court in this case held that non-compliance of Section 42 is impermissible, but strict compliance depends upon urgency and emergency.