-Report by Ojas Bhatnagar
The Bombay High Court has directed the Secretary of the Home Department, Maharashtra Government to compensate a Nigerian National for detaining him due to an error in the report. This has been held in the case of Novafor Samuel Inoamaobi vs The State of Maharashtra A Nigerian national was wrongly arrested under the NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act in 2020.
The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) received a tip that a Nigerian National would be coming to a particular spot at a specific time to sell cocaine. To prevent this, a raid was conducted by the same. The ATS arrested a person who looked suspicious and found cocaine in a blue plastic bag, some pink ecstasy tablets and heart-shaped pills. The seized material was sent to the Directorate of Forensic Science Laboratory and they prepared an examination report where they identified the goods as caffeine and on the basis of which the Nigerian National was charged under sections 8C, 20, 22 of the NDPS Act.
However, after almost 2 years the assistant director of Forensic Science Laboratory, Home Department, admitted his mistake stating that these substances are not under the jurisdiction of the NDPS Act. The sufferer has thus asked for bail.
The Bombay High Court has very clearly stated that the applicant deserves bail without a question. The substance found was not contraband and the raid which the ATI conducted does not fall under the purview of the NDPS Act. The typing error is a blatant mistake. An individual’s liberty is a fundamental right, enshrined in Article 21 and applies to foreigners too. The Court has observed:
“Liberty of an individual is of paramount importance and it is the fulcrum of the Indian democracy. Recognized as a
fundamental right, enshrined in Article 21, it is available to every person, citizens and foreigners alike. The incarceration of the applicant, with the above clarification, has therefore, become unlawful, as, but for this report, no offence could have been made out against him.”
The court has asked the State Government to come up with a proposal as to how to compensate the applicant for his incarceration.