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Seizure Of Alleged Commercial Quantity Of Cannabis: Bombay High Court Grants Bail To Accused Over Doubts In Chemical Analysis Report

Sharmeen Hakim
31 Aug 2021 11:55 AM GMT
Seizure Of Alleged Commercial Quantity Of Cannabis: Bombay High Court Grants Bail To Accused Over Doubts In Chemical Analysis Report
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The Bombay High Court recently granted bail to the accused in a case involving the alleged seizure of a commercial quantity of 51.460 kg of ganja or cannabis, after noting that the plant's flowering tops were not separately weighed, creating doubts over the actual drug quantity.Justice Anuja Prabhudessai granted bail to the accused Hari Valse who was booked for offences punishable...

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The Bombay High Court recently granted bail to the accused in a case involving the alleged seizure of a commercial quantity of 51.460 kg of ganja or cannabis, after noting that the plant's flowering tops were not separately weighed, creating doubts over the actual drug quantity.

Justice Anuja Prabhudessai granted bail to the accused Hari Valse who was booked for offences punishable under Sections 8(C) and 20(C) of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act), following a raid at a warehouse on August 1, 2017.

The petitioner's counsel Advocate Ganesh Gupta had argued that the alleged seized material included flower buds with pieces of stalks, stems, leaves and seeds. However, only weighing the flowering or fruiting tops could determine the actual drug quantity, he argued.

The arguments found favour with Justice Prabhudessai who noted that flower tops of the plant was not separately weighed which created a doubt if a commercial quantity of drugs was seized at all.

"It is however to be noted that the chemical analysis report reveals that the material forwarded for analysis contained flower buds with pieces of stalks, stems, leaves and seeds, without quantifying the weight of flower tops. This fact prima facie raises a doubt whether ganja seized from the warehouse of the accused was of commercial quantity as to attract the provisions under Section 20(C) of the NDPS Act."

The court noted that the accused was in custody since August 5, 2017. The trial had not yet commenced and considering the present situation arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, the trial is not likely to commence and conclude in immediate future, it added.

The court also noted that the accused had no criminal antecedents.

The Bench further rejected the petitioner's arguments that there was a delay in sending material for chemical analysis.

"The Panchanama prima facie reveals that the seized material contained green leaves, flower bud and seeds were weighing approximately 71 kg 190 gms. The said seized material was forwarded for chemical analysis 10 days after the seizure. The delay per se is immaterial as prima facie there is nothing to show that the seal of the parcel, received by chemical analyzer was tampered with."

Case Title: Hari Mahadu Valse v. The State of Maharashtra

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