Reply To: A Special Court u/s 36A of NDPS Act is deemed to be a Court of Session

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advtanmoy
Keymaster

By the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Act, 1988 amending Act No.2 of 89 the Central Legislation has made far-reaching changes in the NDPS Act. The amending Act came into force w.e.f. 29.05.1989. By the amending Act, the punishment prescribed under the newly added Section 31(A) is extended to the death penalty also. Section 36 came to be replaced by a new provision and Sections 36-A to 36-D were inserted for the first time. Only a Session Judge or an Additional Sessions Judge is eligible to be appointed as a Special Judge. Under Section 36-A, all offences under the Act shall be triable only by the special court constituted for the area in which the commission of the offence has taken place. This provision overrides the provision in the Cr.P.C. A close analysis of the NDPS Act and the provisions of the amending Act would reveal that before the introduction of the provisions by amending Act, the offences under the NDPS Act were triable by the ordinary court under the Cr.P.C. However, after the enactment of the Act, it was expected that speedy trials and harsh punishment would help in preventing and combating abuse of illicit traffic in narcotic drugs etc. Clause (d) of sub-Section 1 of Section 36-A, empowers, the special courts to take cognizance of an offence under the Act upon a police report or upon a complaint made by an authorized officer. Section 36-C extends the provisions of Cr.P.C. to proceedings before the special court, save as otherwise provided in the Act, so that where the Act does not make any specific provisions to the contrary, the special court may not be hamstrung and may lean on the provisions in the Cr.P.C. But then till the establishment of the special courts, provision had to be made to cover the transitional period to avoid the stalemate situation and hence, the need for Section 36-D was considered.