New Delhi: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has berated a Special Court judge for not keeping herself updated with the latest position in law against the possession of drugs and narcotic substances.
The single bench of Justice Rekha Mittal, while hearing a bail plea of Mandeep Singh, booked under the NDPS Act for possession of more than the permitted quantity of contraband, noticed that the Special Judge had allowed the bail application of a co-accused on grounds that the banned substance seized was below the “commercial quantity” by discounting the non-drug salts in the mixture in estimating the quantity.
Justice Rekha Mittal said that the Special Judge either did not keep herself updated with the latest position in law or did not bother to examine the case in the light of the latest judgment of the Supreme Court. The three-judge bench of the Supreme Court has decided a case on April 22, 2020 in this regard.
In Hira Singh and another vs Union of India, the apex court had held that in case of seizure of a mixture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, the quantity of the neutral substance in the mixture is not to be excluded while estimating “commercial quantity”. The neutral substance must be taken into consideration along with actual content by weight of the offending drug in determining between the small or commercial quantity of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances.
According to the prosecution, the accused was apprehended on October 4, 2019, by officials of Khaman police station with 420 Lomotil tablets and 420 Alprax05 tables, all of which fell within the quantitative limit of commercial quantity.
The special judge, however, held: “But perusal of the FSL report shows that 420 Lomotil tablets contain 26.46 of salt Diphneoxylate (above 50 grams commercial) and 420 tablets of Alprex contain 50.04 of salt Alprazolam (above 100 grams commercial) and the above said quantity of the tablets, due to different salt, falls within non-commercial range”.
The Court has also granted liberty to the state to file an appropriate application in light of the judgment in Hira Singh to seek cancellation of bail to the co-accused. As for the main plea by the accused, Mandeep Singh, the Court dismissed it as withdrawn.
Read the order here;CRM-M_15481_2020_27_07_2020_FINAL_ORDER
– India Legal Bureau