Explain delay in trials, SC tells NCB

Expressing concerns over extended trials under the Narcotics Drugs and Substances (NDPS) Act, the Supreme Court has asked the Director General of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and its senior-most officer of the Investigation and Prosecution wing to show up in person and explain the prime reasons for such inordinate delays.

A Bench of Justices D K Jain and J S Khehar, taking exception to the massive pendency of cases where undertrials had been languishing in jail for more than five years, decided to call top officers since they held first-hand information about the reasons for delays.The officers could hence, the Bench observed, also hand out efficacious solutions to the problem. It has asked the officers to appear in person on November 20 and give suggestions to ensure speedy disposal of cases without compromising with the quality of adjudication.

Last week, during the proceeding, amicus curiae adduced a note containing suggestions and remedial measures to minimise the pendency. The note highlighted lack of special NDPS courts in several states, "lackadaisical attitude of the officers of the court and police", delay in receiving forensic reports as the main reasons of protracted trials. It suggested setting up of special courts, appointing sufficient number of prosecutors, more forensic laboratories, fixed time-frame for deciding cases and a professional and coordinated approach in adjudication.

The issue had come under the scanner of the apex court when an accused from Madhya Pradesh, languishing in jail for over 12 years as an undertrial, had pleaded for bail.

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