LAHORE - A Full Bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan hearing a case Thursday asked the Federal Government to rationalise Narcotics Substance Act of 1997 to distinguish the quantum of sentence which, in the present form, applies equal punishment to both the accused of possessing hard narcotics like heroin and the soft one like opium. The Bench headed by Justice Khalilur Rahman Ramday and comprising Justice Fakir Muhammad Khokhar and Justice Syed Sakhi Hussain Bokhari after hearing Regional Director Anti Narcotic Force (ANF) Brig Sarfraz Bukshi, Chief Prosecutor General Zahid Husain Bokhari, senior advocate Khwaja Sultan Ahmad, Federal Law Officer Nasim Kashmiri, Provincial Law Officer Ali Akbar Tarar and PCSIR representative on Section 9 (b & c) of the Act were also present. The Court found the Act functioning without specifying that the court can exercise discretion, where in its opinion the degree of offence mitigates for various reasons hence it can deliver lesser punishment accordingly. The Bench was surprised that maximum sentence of death and minimum life term has been specified under the proviso of Section 9(c) of the Act for the offence of possessing more than 10Kg of drug, whatever it may be, and in between to extremes, the court has been denuded of exercising the discretion where its conscience feels, even the life term is too much of a punishment. When the Court has to oscillate between these two, it tends to acquit the accused instead of mulling a lesser punishment for the offence, Justice Ramday said explaining this feature that supposed someone puts narco in the bag of a child and he is caught up, should the court in such case necessarily award him life term for none of his fault and merely for the reason that he was unaware of what narcotic dealers are going to do with him. Justice Ramday said the SC was empowered to strike down the law, but it would like the Federal Government to act and impart rationality to the same. The judge also noted that quantity of the narcotics recovered had been fixed for fixed punishment but the legislators have not considered the fact that nature of narcotics vary even to the degree that the substance of opium is left out just a chaff after the extraction but still it has been counted as drug in the law. The Judge said legislating the sentence is tantamount to its enforcement and security of its object is the point and if it is not possible, what use of awarding the sentence. Citing the Victorian Age law of England, the judge said, for theft death was prescribed at that time but that could not end theft rather pick-pocketing cases were detected when public execution of the thief was taking place. Why? For the fact, offence and sentence were disproportionate. And if they are, the court themselves feel embarrassed, he added. Attending to Regional Director ANF the court pointed him out about the delay being made in presenting challan of the drug cases, as it was becoming a major factor in changing complexion of the case. Justice Ramday said the Courts give much credibility to the ANF actions for the fact it is manned by serving military persons but regrettably the military officers of the department seldom appear before the court to prosecute the cases. The judge said this was falling heavy on the courts as by the absence of the ANF persons and in their stead of the police persons, the prosecution of the cases was being vitiated also adversely affecting the court proceedings. The head of the Bench said the Courts trust ANF but they need to show a difference from the police department in the matter of prosecution of the cases. Putting the hearing off for two weeks, the court directed the ANF Regional Chief to come up with a list showing how many challans on the cases have been placed so far, how many are pending as well as under investigations and the number of cases registered.