SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Criminal Appeal Nos. 1206 of 2013.
Date of Decision 20.8.2019.
Hanif Khan @ Annu Khan Versus Central Bureau Of Narcotics Through Inspector L.P. Ojha
“We have considered the submissions on behalf of the parties. The prosecution under the NDPS Act carries a reverse burden of proof with a culpable mental state of the accused. He is presumed to be guilty consequent to recovery of contraband from him, and it is for the accused to establish his innocence unlike the normal rule of criminal jurisprudence that an accused is presumed to be innocent unless proved guilty. But that does not absolve the prosecution from establishing a prima facie case only whereafter the burden shifts to the accused. In Noor Aga v. State of Punjab, 2008(3) R.C.R.(Criminal) 633 : (2008) 16 SCC 417 it was observed as follows :
- Sections 35 and 54 of the Act, no doubt, raise presumptions with regard to the culpable mental state on the part of the accused as also place the burden of proof in this behalf on the accused; but a bare perusal of the said provision would clearly show that presumption would operate in the trial of the accused only in the event the circumstances contained therein are fully satisfied. An initial burden exists upon the prosecution and only when it stands satisfied, would the legal burden shift. Even then, the standard of proof required for the accused to prove his innocence is not as high as that of the prosecution. Whereas the standard of proof required to prove the guilt of the accused on the prosecution is “beyond all reasonable doubt” but it is “preponderance of probability” on the accused. If the prosecution fails to prove the foundational facts so as to attract the rigours of Section 35 of the Act, the actus reus which is possession of contraband by the accused cannot be said to have been established.”