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NDPS Act - Purchasing Drugs For Another At A Party Doesn't Make One A Drug Peddler : Bombay High Court

Sharmeen Hakim
26 Aug 2021 4:54 PM GMT
NDPS Act - Purchasing Drugs For Another At A Party Doesnt Make One A Drug Peddler : Bombay High Court
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The court adopted a reformative approach for the two first-time offenders and remarked that today's youth, with their "now or never" attitude, cannot foresee the consequences of their actions.

The Bombay High Court granted bail to two young men arrested for possession and consumption of drugs observing that prima facie purchasing drugs for another person at a party would not make one a drug peddler to attract the rigours of section 37 for bail under the NDPS Act. Justice Bharti Dangre adopted the reformative approach for the two first-time offenders and remarked that...

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The Bombay High Court granted bail to two young men arrested for possession and consumption of drugs observing that prima facie purchasing drugs for another person at a party would not make one a drug peddler to attract the rigours of section 37 for bail under the NDPS Act.

Justice Bharti Dangre adopted the reformative approach for the two first-time offenders and remarked that today's youth, with their "now or never" attitude, cannot foresee the consequences of their actions.

The two petitioners, arrested under sections 20, 21, 25 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) in June 2021, sought bail on the grounds that commercial quantity of drugs was not seized, mandatory provisions for search under sections 42 and 50 were not followed, and that the young men had learnt their lesson after spending two months in prison.

The prosecution argued that the first petitioner had organized the birthday party with 27 attendees at Igatpuri, Maharashtra, and the second petitioner was found in possession of 5.72 gms of cocaine and was in contact with the drug mafia.

The prosecution said that, "Traces of cocaine were also found in the swimming pool, and if the quantity of cocaine (once the FSL report comes) in 1 litre was multiplied with the quantity of water in the swimming pool (50k litres approximately), it would become a commercial quantity. Therefore the rigours of section 37 of the NDPS Act would apply."

However, Justice Dangre observed that prima facie, the second petitioner's calls with the Nigerian national, seemed to be for drug consumption at the party, and he couldn't be called a 'drug peddler' by any stretch of the imagination.

"At this stage, there is no material to indicate that the operation was a part of a crime syndicate, where drugs are sold and purchased and that the Applicant - Harsh, who has brought the substance and offered the same to other accused present in the party, by no stretch of imagination, would assign him the role of a drug peddler," the judge observed.

The court felt that the two deserved a chance at reformation with a forewarning that law wouldn't spare them if they repeated their actions or were found guilty during the trial.

Justice Dangre found the prosecution's arguments on calculating swimming pool contraband "obscure" and "outlandish."

"The NDPS Act imposes deterrent sentences upon those who traffic in significant quantities of drugs and addicts, who are addicted to its consumption…The applicants are not attributed with any antecedents of being involved previously in the consumption or use of drugs …considering their young age where they are in a stage of reformation, they deserve one opportunity by restoring their freedom, nevertheless with a forewarning."

Justice Dangre emphasized that today's youth, with their "now or never" attitude, cannot forsee the consequences of their actions.

"Adolescence and youth are the phases of lifetime, where making of irrational and impulsive decisions may be favoured by some. The challenge of today mainly focuses on the issue of drug addiction in youth and how to tackle it. Experimentation with alcohol and drugs is common. Unfortunately, the youths do not foresee the link between their action today and its consequences tomorrow."

The court further observed that the menace of drugs is a reality that would require posing serious questions to get to the root of the issue. "It indeed is a harrowing reality."

Case Title: [Harsh Shailesh Shah vs The State of Maharashtra]

Appearances: Sr Adv Aabad Ponda, Advocates Kushal Mor, Rishi Butta, Anurag Garg, Ashish Dubey

State – APP AR Kapadnis

Click Here To Read/ Download Order

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