‘Commercial Quantity’- any quantity greater than the quantity specified in official gazette: High Court of Shimla

Commercial quantity in relation to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, means any quantity greater than the quantity specified in the official gazette and the offences under commercial quantities are non-bailable U/S 37 NDPS Act 1985. This honorable judgement was passed by High Court of Shimla in the case of Sharif Khan Versus Narcotics Control Bureau [Cr.MP(M) No. 43 of 2021] by The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Chander Bhusan Barowalia, Judge.

The petition was filled by the petitioner under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure seeking his release in Crime No. 15 of 2016, under Sections 8, 18, 29 and 60 of the ND&PS Act, registered by Narcotic Control Bureau, Chandigarh. As per the averments made in the petition, the petitioner was innocent and had been falsely implicated in the present case. The facts of the case are that NCB, Chandigarh, got a secret tip-off that one Sanjay Patidar is coming to Mandi from Madhya Pradesh in new Force Traveler bus for delivering a consignment of opium. The said team along with two independent witnesses reached, where the said Traveler bus, was parked. The door of the vehicle was locked from inside and a person was sleeping inside. On being knocked, the said person opened the door and divulged his name as Sanjay Patidar, resident of Madhya Pradesh. He further divulged that he is driver and taken the vehicle from Force India Ltd. Patampur, District Dhar, MP for delivering it to Force Motor Ltd. Depot, Tehsil Sadar, District Mandi. Thereafter, personal search of Sanjay Patidar was conducted, but nothing incriminating was found. Said Sanjay Patidar himself handed over a polythene packed, which was kept under the last seat of the bus, which contained some sticky substance and it was opium.

On weighment, the contraband was found to be 3 (three) Kgs. During the course of investigation, it was unearthed that the petitioner has already been arrested by NCB Chandigarh in connection with seizure of 2.800 kgs of opium and the petitioner in his statement under Section 67 of the ND&PS Act. The NCB has argued that the petitioner was the main kingpin and he, in fact, was the owner of 3 (three) kgs of opium, which is a commercial quantity, and was allegedly recovered by the NCB team from co-accused Sanjay Patidar.

The court dismissed the plea stating that, “considering the quantity, which is commercial quantity, and in case at this enlarged on bail, there is possibility that he may flee from justice or tamper with the prosecution evidence, considering the role of the petitioner in the alleged offence, as it has come on record that the petitioner was the main supplier of the contraband and also considering all other vital aspects, which emerge.”

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