CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court has issued a fresh set of directions to concerned magistrate courts while dealing with disposal of contraband seized under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
The High Court was hearing the State government’s plea on an increased load of seized drugs, narcotics and psychotropic substances in the malkhana of courts and police stations, resulting in a shortage of storage facilities.
Earlier, the High Court had circulated an SOP to all the district judges taking into consideration the difficulties being faced in destruction of the seized contraband. As per the SOP issued on January 31, the courts were directed to dispose off pending applications within three weeks and fresh applications within 10 days.
Although some progress has been made in the matter, the division bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice RK Pattanaik issued further directions in response to the feedback received from the district judges on the implementation of the SOP.
The bench clarified that the presence of the informant/complainant and the accused persons is not mandatory for complying with the SOP. The court need not wait for an application to be filed by the investigating agency asking for disposal of the seized articles. The court can suo motu initiate the process.
In terms of valuation of the seized articles, it will be open to the district judge to empanel a list of accredited actuaries/valuers, the bench clarified in its order on April 25. The bench further directed the DG Police to impress upon all the Forensic Laboratories across the State to expedite sending reports of chemical examination of the seized items to the concerned Courts.
“All the pending requests be attended to immediately and reports be sent not later than May 31, 2022,” the court added.