Man Singh & ANR.
Vs. State of M.P.  INSC 1631 (24 September 2008)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICITON CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1516 OF 2008
(Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 5051 of 2007) Man Singh & Anr.
...Appellants Versus State of M.P. ...Respondent
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT,
in this appeal is to the judgment of a learned Single Judge of the High Court
of Madhya Pradesh, Jabalpur, Bench at Indore, dismissing the appeal filed by
the appellant who had questioned his conviction for offence punishable under
Section 8/18(b) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985
(hereinafter for short `the Act') and in the alternative under Section
8/29/18(b) of the Act and under Section 8/21(c) and in the alternative
8/29/21(c) and in the alternative 8/28/2(c) of the Act and sentence of 20 years
RI and fine of rupees two lakhs with a stipulation that in the event of default
of payment of fine each of the accused/appellants would suffer RI for 5 years.
It appears that when the matter was taken up by the High Court learned Advocate
who was appointed through Legal Aid Committee did not appear. Learned Single
Judge heard the matter with the assistance of the learned Panel Lawyer for the
counsel for the appellant submitted that the lawyer who was appointed by the
Legal Aid Committee did not appear, when the matter was called, for the reasons
best known to him and the High Court should not have dismissed the appeal
without engaging another counsel or at least without appointing an Amicus
Curiae. Learned counsel for the respondent-State on the other hand submitted
that the High Court has analysed the relevant evidence including the evidence
of PWs 9 and 10, who were the official witnesses. It is pointed out that
Sections 42 and 50 of the Act have no relevance because the alleged seizure
took place in a public place and search was not of person.
need not deal with the merits of the case as we find that the learned counsel
appointed by the Legal Aid Committee did not appear on the date fixed before
the High Court. The High Court could have in such circumstances required the
Legal Aid Committee to appoint another counsel.
seriousness of the offence it would have been appropriate for the High Court to
the circumstances, we set aside the impugned order and remit the matter to the
High Court for a fresh hearing.
appeal is allowed.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)
(Dr. MUKUNDAKAM SHARMA)
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