Not Enough Courts, Drug Cases Under Trial See Spike | Bengaluru News – Times of India
Also, cases booked under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act are also on the rise, show state police records. In 2019, police had booked 1,658 cases and it reached 4,052 in 2020. This year, till October, 4,565 cases were booked against drug peddlers.
While 378 accused were convicted on drug-peddling charges in 2019, it was 817 in 2020 and 471 till October this year.
Special public prosecutor P Prasanna Kumar said more courts handling NDPS cases should be set up in the state. “We have only one court for such cases in Bengaluru and there are over 1,000 chargesheets filed by cops and are pending trial. Also, the same court is designated to handle civil issues, making it difficult to dedicate time for NDPS cases. It is high time that more courts, dedicated to deal with NDPS cases, were set up. There is also a delay in getting reports from Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) on the drugs seized,” he said.
Advocate Srinivasa Rao said the Supreme Court is contemplating whether police investigation is complete without the FSL report or not and will soon pronounce its verdict.
“In most cases awaiting the scientific analysis report, the chargesheets are placed before trial courts for statistical purpose. As the courts can only proceed on the basis of substantiate material, which includes FSL reports, the matters are put to rest without any progress,” he said and recalled how the high court recently observed that there was an immediate need for a dedicated government laboratory to test drugs.
“However, the special public prosecutor shall try to persuade the home department to provide field test kits to all police stations in Karnataka, if not already provided. He shall also convince the government on the need to establish a separate forensic science laboratory for conducting tests for articles seized under the NDPS Act. The registry is directed to send a copy of this order to the chief secretary and additional chief secretary, the home department, Vidhana Soudha,” the high court observed in a case wherein Rao is appearing on behalf of the accused.
A senior IPS officer said earlier it took one year for FSL staff to examine and submit reports on samples sent to them in drug cases such as narcotic substances and biological samples like urine and blood. However, with the increase in number of staff and setting up of dedicated narcotic sections in the five regional forensic science laboratories, pendency time has come down to five months.
Six FSL units
Karnataka has six FSL units with the main unit in the city and regional ones in Mysuru, Mangaluru, Davanagere, Belagavi and Kalaburagi. Around 220 staff work in these units and Bengaluru has around 120 staff.
“On an average, between 100 and 120 samples of drugs are tested per month in all the six units. The narcotic department in each unit has specialised staff to examine the drugs and submit the report,” he said
According to him, majority of the samples sent to FSL are of ganja. “Other narcotic substances like synthetic drugs form a small portion and are examined in Bengaluru FSL,” he said.