The defendant’s financial situation alone cannot be an attenuating factor in determining the verdict.

In the recent Gurdev Singh v Punjab State case, the Supreme Court found that just because the defendant is a poor man or the sole breadwinner of the family, there cannot be an attenuating circumstance in his favor while the sentence is being imposed under the narcotic drug Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS).

According to the facts of the case, the complainant is the first-time convict and a poor person and was only a carrier. In the present case, the main supplier of the narcotic was not arrested / arrested and the applicant is a carrier, punishment higher than the minimum provided for in the law is not justified. It is alleged that the factors in Section 32B paragraphs (a) through (f) were not considered by the trained special court while imposing a penalty greater than the minimum penalty.

It is argued that in the present case the attenuating circumstances are that (i) the applicant is a poor man and the sole breadwinner of the family; (ii) The court found that the applicant should be treated leniently in considering the issue of the judgment. (iii) the applicant was merely a carrier and the main accused, Malkit Singh, was never arrested and, in fact, no fruitful effort was made to arrest him; (iv) The complainant is convicted for the first time under the law and there are no pending proceedings against the complainant under the law, and there are no special factors in the facts and circumstances of the law under Section 32B (a) to (f) present case.

While the Court is imposing a penalty greater than the minimum term of imprisonment or a fine, it may take into account the factors listed in Section 32B of the above Act. It should be noted, however, that Section 32B of the Act itself further provides that the Court of Justice may, in addition to the factors it deems appropriate, take into account the factors which are necessary for the imposition of a penalty higher than the minimum penalty or the amount of the fine under Section 32B of the Law.

Just because the accused is a poor man and / or a carrier and / or a sole breadwinner cannot be such an extenuating circumstance in favor of the accused while imposing the sentence / penalty in the case of the NDPS Act. In the present case, too, as stated above, the special court took into account the defendant’s assertion that he was a poor person on behalf of the defendant; that he is sole breadwinner, that it is his first offense without imposing the maximum sentence of 20 years RI and only the sentence of 15 years RI.

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