Brazilian at sea in Chennai court, SC transfers case to Delhi

IANS | 2 months ago

New Delhi, Aug 3 : Unable to communicate in English, a Brazilian citizen was facing difficulties in his trial, under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, in a Chennai court due to the language barrier.

For four years, Jailson Manoel Da Silva was unable to communicate with his counsel to defend himself. Finally, the Supreme Court transferred the case from Chennai to Delhi, after the Brazilian Embassy expressed willingness to provide assistance to him in the national capital.

Justice Hrishikesh Roy said "I have considered the circumstances of the case and also the fact that the trial has not made much progress in the Chennai court since the last four years, primarily because of the communication problem. If the case is transferred to the court in Delhi, the Narcotics Control Bureau, who is the prosecutor in this case, will have no difficulty, as their officers and lawyers are available in Delhi."

Silva was caught in Chennai for allegedly possessing heroin in 2016, and since then has been struggling to communicate his case as he could only speak Portuguese. As the authorities concerned could not sort out this issue, Silva moved the apex court seeking to move out his case from Chennai.

Raghneth Basant, appearing for Silva, submitted before the top court that the trial in the Chennai court is "practically stalled for about four years primarily because the petitioner (Silva) is unable to communicate with his counsel and arranging for his defence, in such circumstances, has practically become impossible".

He cited the communication, dated July 30, 2019 of the Brazilian Embassy, which indicates that it is willing to provide assistance to the accused, if the trial of the case is transferred to a Delhi court from the Chennai court.

The Narcotics Control Bureau, represented by Additional Solicitor General K.M. Nataraj, submitted that the petitioner is certainly entitled to effective legal representation under the laws of the country. However, he submitted that such legal assistance is being offered to the accused in the Chennai court as well.

The top court allowed the transfer petition, saying "The Intelligence Officer, NCB versus Jailson Manoel Da Silva, pending in the Court of 1st Additional Special Judge, NDPS Act, EC and NDPS Courts, Chennai is transferred to a Court of competent jurisdiction at New Delhi."

Brazilian at sea in Chennai court, SC transfers case to Delhi

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