Top StoriesQuantity Of Narcotic Substance Recovered Is A Relevant Factor To Impose Punishment Higher Than The Minimum: Supreme Court LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK6 April 2021 3:50 AMShare This – xThe Supreme Court observed that quantity of narcotic substance recovered is a relevant factor that can be taken into account for imposing higher than the minimum punishment under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah observed that the Court has a wide discretion to impose the sentence/imprisonment ranging between 10…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Supreme Court observed that quantity of narcotic substance recovered is a relevant factor that can be taken into account for imposing higher than the minimum punishment under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah observed that the Court has a wide discretion to impose the sentence/imprisonment ranging between 10 years to 20 years and while imposing such sentence/imprisonment in addition, the Court may also take into consideration factor as it may deem fit other than the factors enumerated in Section 32B (a) to (f) of the Act.In this case, the accused was found to be in possession of 1 kg heroin which is four times more than the minimum of commercial quantity. The minimum sentence for commercial quantity shall not be less than 10 years, which may extend to 20 years with fine which shall not be less than Rs.1 lakh but which may extend to Rs.2 lakhs. The Special Court convicted the accused for the offence punishable under Section 21 of the Act and sentenced him to undergo 15 years R.I. and to pay a fine of Rs.2 Lakhs and in default of payment of fine, to further undergo one year R.I. As the High Court dismissed his appeal, the accused approached the Apex court.The appellant’s contention was that while imposing a punishment of 15 years R.I. which is higher than the minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years R.I., neither the Special Court nor the High Court have assigned any reasons taking into account the factors mentioned in Section 32B of the Act. To answer this contention, the bench referred to Section 32B of the Act provides for factors to be taken into account for imposing higher than the minimum punishment. The court noted that the Section 32B of the Act itself further provides that the Court may, in addition to such factors as it may deem fit, take into account the factors for imposing a punishment higher than the minimum term of imprisonment or amount of fine as mentioned in Section 32B of the Act. Referring to the judgment in Rafiq Qureshi vs. Narcotic Control Bureau, Eastern Zonal Unit, (2019) 6 SCC 492 , the bench observed.”Therefore, while imposing the punishment higher than the minimum term of imprisonment or amount of fine, the Court may take into account such factors as it may deem fit and also the factors enumerated/mentioned in Section 32B of the Act. Therefore, on fair reading of Section 32B of the Act, it cannot be said that while imposing a punishment higher than the minimum term of imprisonment or amount of fine, the Court has to consider only those factors which are mentioned/enumerated in Section 32B of the Act…””Therefore, quantity of substance would fall into “such factors as it may deem fit” and while exercising its discretion of imposing the sentence/imprisonment higher than the minimum, if the Court has taken into consideration such factor of larger/higher quantity of substance, it cannot be said that the Court has committed an error. The Court has a wide discretion to impose the sentence/imprisonment ranging between 10 years to 20 years and while imposing such sentence/imprisonment in addition, the Court may also take into consideration other factors as enumerated in Section 32B (a) to (f). Therefore, while imposing a punishment higher than the minimum sentence, if the Court has considered such factor as it may deem fit other than the factors enumerated in Section 32B (a) to (f), the High Court has to only consider whether “such factor” is a relevant factor or not”In the present case, the court noted that, the accused was found to be in possession of 4 times higher than the minimum commercial quantity. “Therefore, the sentence imposed by the Special Court imposing the sentence of 15 years R.I. with fine of Rs.2 lakhs, confirmed by the High Court is not required to be interfered with by this Court. It cannot be said that while imposing such punishment the Court has taken into consideration any irrelevant factors”, the bench said.The bench also considered the the submission on behalf of the accused on mitigating and aggravating circumstances and the request to take lenient view and not to impose the punishment higher than the minimum sentence provided under the Act. While dismissing appeal, the bench observed: It should be borne in mind that in a murder case, the accused commits murder of one or two persons, while those persons who are dealing in narcotic drugs are instruments in causing death or in inflicting death blow to number of innocent young victims who are vulnerable; it cause deleterious effects and deadly impact on the society; they are hazard to the society. Organized activities of the underworld and the clandestine smuggling of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances into this country and illegal trafficking in such drugs and substances shall lay to drug addiction among a sizeable section of the public, particularly the adolescents and students of both sexes and the menace has assumed serious and alarming proportions in the recent years. Therefore, it has a deadly impact on the society as a whole. Therefore, while awarding the sentence/punishment in case of NDPS Act, the interest of the society as a whole is also required to be taken in consideration. Therefore, while striking balance between the mitigating and aggravating circumstances, public interest, impact on the society as a whole will always be tilt in favour of the suitable higher punishment. Therefore, merely because the accused is a poor man and/or a carrier and/or is a sole bread earner cannot be such mitigating circumstances in favour of the accused while awarding the sentence/punishment in the case of NDPS Act. Even otherwise, in the present case, the Special Court, as observed hereinabove has taken into consideration the submission on behalf of the accused that he is a poor person; that he is sole bread earner, that it is his first offence, while not imposing the maximum punishment of 20 years R.I and imposing the punishment of 15 years R.I. only.Case: Gurdev Singh vs. State of Punjab [CrA 375 OF 2021]Coram: Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah Citation: LL 2021 SC 196Click here to Download/Read JudgmentNext Story
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York When it comes to the future of Long Island, residents should ditch the NIMBY attitudes and be constructively open-minded—but only if their local government promises to be responsive to the legitimate needs of the community.That’s the challenge facing the Town of Huntington as it contemplates what to do with the Route 110 Corridor on the Suffolk and Nassau border. The outcome looms large for Melville, one of the biggest employment hubs on the Island, whose economic vitality depends upon the integration of transit service, a balance of residential and commercial space and an innovative mixed-use development.Earlier this month, BFJ Planning, Urbanomics and Parsons Brinckerhoff, a team of consultants that the town had hired on the recommendation of its Melville Plan Advisory Committee, hosted a public workshop concerning the Melville Employment Center, the designation of a key commercial concentration on the Island in western Suffolk County that is Huntington’s largest source of employment and tax revenue. Resident turnout was strong, as were their views regarding the future of their community. I also spoke, trying to ease some concerns while raising these issues. The meeting was the first of what the town has said may be a year-long process before coming up with a draft plan.The Route 110 Corridor is often defined as “Long Island’s economic spine” thanks to an abundance of corporate headquarters that include multinational giants like Canon USA, Nikon and Henry Schein. The area also contains the largest undeveloped tracts of land in the Town of Huntington, which—for better or worse—presents an opportunity for Melville to transform itself. After initial review, BFJ found that the unincorporated hamlet’s “traditional suburban office development has led to traffic congestion and a lack of pedestrian amenities.”BFJ also observed that due to Melville’s large building footprints surrounded by ample parking lots, the aesthetic visual impacts aren’t exactly stellar. Workers in the area have complained about their relative isolation, the lack of walkability and the availability of few amenities. Residents have complained about the traffic, the congestion and the ever-increasing cost of living, a regional issue felt on the local level.Melville’s engaging in the planning process couldn’t come at a better time. As the New York State Department of Transportation wraps up expanding Route 110’s capacity to handle the multiple peak periods of traffic in the area, proposals have been made for implementing a new bus-rapid-transit (BRT) lane and reopening the Republic Airport LIRR Station, closed since 1986.No matter the approach, big questions—as always—must be answered. Are the consultants contemplating shoehorning more residents into this relatively isolated hamlet? Can the area handle increases in density without direct access to public transit? And, just as importantly, will LI’s affluent corporate workers even want to use it?Before moving forward, it’s critically important that BFJ and the town conduct a destination/origin study to see where, exactly, these Melville workers are coming from, and whether or not transit can meet their commuting needs.Proposals for providing sewage capacity and area-wide storm management should be explored seriously, but expect large costs of implementation and large impacts on the aquifer. The last Melville Industrial Sewer District Feasibility Study is now more than 20 years old. The area is also home to West Hills County Park, an underutilized public asset that is a geologically sensitive Special Groundwater Protection Area. Because of Melville’s mid-Island location, any sewage treatment plant would have to be a package plant that discharges its effluent into the aquifer unless funding can be found for other solutions.Planners and policymakers must embrace the current economic realities that the area faces. Is it wise to recommend growth to accommodate a new BRT route and LIRR station at Republic Airport if neither is built yet? Does the MTA even have the capital funding earmarked for the reopening of the Republic Airport station? These questions have to be answered before any plan is even drafted, because they will help dictate substantive policy and land use recommendations for the Town of Huntington to take.If neither a new BRT route or a reopened LIRR station is realistic, the plan should be scaled down and focused on providing amenities for local residents and the large population of workers in the area. Are there chokepoints in the street network where the town could ease the congestion? Can the office parks be made pedestrian friendly, complete with social civic spaces and more attractive streetscapes? These improvements have been shown to bolster residential property values elsewhere, so Melville residents should welcome them with open arms.Further commercial and office development should be halted along the Route 110 Corridor until there is coordination among projects like Jerry Wolkoff’s massive Heartland Town Square, Syosset Park, Renaissance Downtown’s efforts in Huntington Station and myriad other mixed-use proposals that are cropping up.All of this is well and good, but any plan is driven by resident input and scientific data. Local government and the consultants are responsible for an honest analysis of the area’s needs. They must answer the questions raised here before making any policy recommendations. The replies cannot be predetermined, and the assessments must not be driven by stakeholders.What was concerning was that at the public meeting there was talk of an advisory committee that was comprised of all too familiar players in the Island’s development scene. The committee should be expanded to include more civic leaders and local residents – the same old stakeholders lead to the same old solutions.The residents have an even bigger responsibility, for they must accept the findings and help implement the plan. What is key is an open-minded, constructive attitude that leaves room for change in the community. Clearly, Melville’s physical layout no longer serves the needs of those who live in the hamlet—and those who work there.Rampant NIMBYism against sensible fixes like providing sidewalks, attractive lighting and more retail options shouldn’t be protested reflexively. Instead, local residents should focus on getting traffic flow improved, and on reducing conflicts of land use between their residential neighborhoods and their neighboring offices and industrial properties.Let’s work to make Melville a shining example that local planning on the Island can benefit the entire region. The process has to be driven constructively by data and by input from residents and stakeholders having an honest conversation of the area’s needs.Without this effort, the Melville Employment Center Plan will be worthless.Rich Murdocco writes about Long Island’s land use and real estate development issues. He received his Master’s in Public Policy at Stony Brook University, where he studied regional planning under Dr. Lee Koppelman, Long Island’s veteran master planner. Murdocco is a regular contributor to the Long Island Press. More of his views can be found on www.TheFoggiestIdea.org or follow him on Twitter @TheFoggiestIdea.
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin has described the opening of the new Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Federation (NFSBiH) headquarters as “a great step in the development of football in the country.”UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin has visited Bosnia and Herzegovina to attend the official opening of the new headquarters of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Federation (NFSBiH).The opening ceremony in the capital Sarajevo was attended by representatives of the Bosnia and Herzegovina and international football communities, as well as senior government officials including the representative of the country’s presidency, Šefik Džaferović, and the chairman of the council of ministers, Denis Zvizdić.They will provide the association’s staff with the best possible working environment to implement various development strategies in the coming period, which are expected to have a positive impact on football in Bosnia and Herzegovina for years to come.“It is a privilege and pleasure for me to be here today,” said Mr Čeferin. “I am glad that Bosnia and Herzegovina will be richer for this new sports facility – this is a great step in the development of football in the country.”The UEFA President said that UEFA would continue to foster its relationship with the association, and provide crucial sporting and infrastructure support. “Football teaches us team work,” he said.“UEFA will remain a reliable partner to the Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Federation, and I hope that future projects will continue this infrastructure development.”Bosnia and Herzegovina’s national team has just enjoyed a successful UEFA Nations League campaign, gaining promotion to League A after going unbeaten through their group stage programme.“[Bosnia and Herzegovina] have caught up with the elite thanks to its dedicated work,” said Mr Čeferin. “The success is also due to the quality of the work undertaken with the younger categories of players.”The NFSBiH president Elvedin Begić said that steady development work was taking the association forward into a new era of stability. “This has been rewarded through the promotion of the senior national team to the highest reaches of the UEFA Nations League,” he reflected, “and today through the official opening of our Home of Football.”Mr Begić expressed his gratitude for the support given by UEFA and the world body FIFA. “It means a lot to us, and we will not betray their expectations and trust,” he said.“We will leave this building to the generations behind us as a testimony to times of good and transparent management – times of reform and changes, success, courage and visions.”
DES MOINES — The Iowa legislature has unanimously passed a police reform bill — responding to the police misconduct the nation saw when a bystander in Minneapolis videotaped the death of George Floyd.Representative Ras Smith of Waterloo called the legislature’s gesture of unity historic.“I’m hopeful because in this time in Iowa, we stepped up to make real change,” Smith said. “…As a body, by default, we’ve committed here today to shouldering a burden, to ensure that George Floyd, or the scores before him, doesn’t take place in our state — not on our watch.”Representative Ako Abdul-Samad of Des Moines said the moment came because legislators are listening to a new generation of “game-changers” who have been protesting.“My beloved brothers and sisters — and I mean all of you — not only are you part of history, you are rectifying history,” Abdul-Samad said.House Majority Leader Matt Windschitl of Missouri Valley turned to the Black Lives Matter protesters in the gallery watching Thursday night’s debate and said three words: “We hear you.”“…Is this the solution to every problem that we have, to every injustice? No,” Windschitl said, “but it’s a damned good start.”The legislation forbids choke holds in all but life-and-death situations and lets the state attorney general investigate deaths caused by police. Once the bill is signed into law –as the governor plans to do — police officers with a proven record of misconduct may not be rehired in Iowa.The House and Senate debated the bill at the same time. For the first time in her tenure, Governor Kim Reynolds walked into both chambers and stood to listen, a silent signal of her approval. Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver of Ankeny, who mentioned the deaths of both George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, said the times require government solutions and this bill is a starting point.“Tonight, we are showing our state and the world that the Iowa Legislature listens to Iowans,”Whitver said, “and we are willing to lead on tough issues.”Whitver also emphasized the bill’s requirement that Iowa law enforcement officers have annual training sessions in “de-escalation” techniques and the prevention of bias.It took less than two-and-a-half hours for the bill to be formally introduced and passed by the House and Senate. The bill wasn’t debated in the traditional sense. Instead, legislators rose to share their perspectives. Ruth Ann Gaines, a 73-year-old state representative from Des Moines, said the first time she really understood racism was as an eight-year-old, after she heard Emmett Till’s mother speak about her son’s lynching.“I’ve lived a long life in the civil rights movement,” she said. “I’ve sat here year after year listening to debate which I thought showed indifference to what my cause was, so today I am jubilant, I am happy, I am surprised and I am really glad to be a part of it.”Des Moines Black Lives Matter protesters who’d been in the capitol building all day were part of the moment, too. They sat or stood silently in the viewing galleries, many with a fist in the air, as lawmakers spoke, then cast their votes for the bill.Governor Reynolds, in a written statement, said the bill is the result of listening and making a commitment to “meaningful change.”