Gujarat High Court Grants Bail To Alleged Ganja Cultivator Citing 'Intermediary Quantity' Contraband
The Gujarat High Court while allowing a criminal miscellaneous application, granted bail to an accused in a Ganja cultivation case, citing intermediary quantity and lack of criminal antecedents.The court passed the above order in an application seeking grant of regular bail after the charge-sheet was filed in connection with an offence registered under Sections 8(b), 8(c), 20(b), 20(a)(i)...
The Gujarat High Court while allowing a criminal miscellaneous application, granted bail to an accused in a Ganja cultivation case, citing intermediary quantity and lack of criminal antecedents.
The court passed the above order in an application seeking grant of regular bail after the charge-sheet was filed in connection with an offence registered under Sections 8(b), 8(c), 20(b), 20(a)(i) and 20(b)(ii) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act).
The applicant's lawyer, Mr. DC Sejpal, argued for the applicant's bail and contended that the prosecution's case was for an intermediary quantity of Ganja possession, which is greater than the small quantity but less than the commercial quantity. He claimed that even if the quantity mentioned in the FIR and charge-sheet is assumed to be correct, the rigours of Section 37 of the NDPS Act would not apply. The maximum punishment for the alleged offence against the applicant would be ten years imprisonment and a fine, as per Section 20 of the NDPS Act.
Alternatively, the Additional Public Prosecutor, Mr. KM Antani, argued that the accused was found in possession of cannabis sativa plant, which is a serious offence under the NDPS Act. He contended that despite the maximum punishment being up to 10 years, the accused should not be released on bail due to the gravity of the offence.
Justice Umesh A Trivedi initially pointed out that the Police swung into action on prior information about a cultivation of Ganja and recovered six plants, as claimed in the FIR, of Ganja weighing 5.05 kilograms.
He further pointed out, "Since the applicant who is said to be in possession of that cultivation part of the field, he is booked under the NDPS Act and prosecuted. However, considering the papers of investigation, it reveals that the quantity even if presumed to be all parts of the plants to be Ganja is less than the commercial quantity and higher than the small quantity, therefore, considering the provisions of “the NDPS Act”, rigours of Section 37 would not be applicable in the present case."
"At the same time as coming out from the record, the applicant is also not having any other criminal antecedents, apart from the antecedents of the very same nature, I deem it fit to release the present applicant on bail," Justice Trivedi held.
Reliance was placed on the law laid down by the Apex Court in the case of Sanjay Chandra Vs. Central Bureau of Investigation, reported in  1 SCC 40.
Case Title: Goganbhai Rambhai Shekh vs. State of Gujrat R/Criminal Misc. Application No. 2482 of 2023
Case Citation: 2023 Livelaw (Guj) 63