Not only the psychotropic part but the substance as a whole will be counted to determine the quantity of a psychotropic substance: High Court of Chhattisgarh

While determining the quantity of an illicit substance containing psychotropic elements, the entire substance as a whole must be considered and not just the psychotropic part. So if the substance as a whole exceeds the minimum quantity to be considered in the commercial category under the NDPS act, the offence will be considered as non-bailable. This was held by a single member bench of the High Court of Chhattisgarh consisting of Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra in the case of Vinay Singh v. State of Chhattisgarh [MCRC No. 5020 of 2021] on the 15th of July 2021.

The petitioner, Vinay Singh was a 22 year old man from Rajpur district in Chhattisgarh. He was caught by the police in the illicit possession of 16 100 ml bottles of a cough syrup which contained the psychotropic substance called codeine. He was arrested in connection with Crime No. 395/2020 registered at the Police Station at Urla and charged for offences punishable under Section 21(B) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. In his third bail application filed under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, it was argued by the petitioner that the cough syrup recovered was not completely psychotropic and so only the psychotropic portion should be considered while determining the weight or quantity.

As per Section 37 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, possessing commercial quantities of a psychotropic substance is declared as a cognizable and non-bailable offence. The High Court of Chhattisgarh cited the recent judgement in the matter of Hira Singh and another v. Union of India of India [CRA No. 722/2017], where the Supreme Court of India, on 22nd April 2020, held that “Not only the psychotropic substance but the entire neutral substance would have to be counted for determining the quantity of psychotropic substance”. In the immediate case it was found that 1600ml of cough syrup which was recovered from the petitioner did fall under the category of commercial quantities, making the offence non-bailable as per the NDPS act.

Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra concluded “In view of the above, considering that commercial quantity of contraband has been recovered from the applicant, I am not inclined to release the applicant on regular bail” and hence the petitioner’s bail application was dismissed by the court.

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