4 Kilograms of Opium

The NDPS Act carries a reverse burden of proof under Sections 35, 54. Section 35(2) provides, a fact can be said to have been proved if it is established beyond reasonable doubt and not on preponderance of probability. Article 21 of the Constitution would be a hollow promise if the investigation were not to be fair or raises serious questions about its fairness apparent on the face of the investigation. In the nature of the reverse burden of proof, the onus will lie on the prosecution to demonstrate on the face of it that the investigation was fair, judicious with no circumstances that may raise doubts about its veracity. The obligation of proof beyond reasonable doubt will take within its ambit a fair investigation, in absence of which there can be no fair trial. If the investigation itself is unfair, to require the accused to demonstrate prejudice will be fraught with danger vesting arbitrary powers in the police which may well lead to false implication also. Investigation in such a case would then become an empty formality and a farce. It is held, a fair investigation, which is but the very foundation of fair trial, necessarily postulates, the informant and the investigator must not be the same person. Any possibility of bias or a predetermined conclusion has to be excluded. This requirement is all the more imperative in laws carrying a reverse burden of proof. Liberty forthwith.”

– Hon’ble Justice Navin Sinha, Mohan Lal v. State of Punjab, [Criminal Appeal No. 1880 of 2011].