The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently berated a Special Court Judge for not keeping herself updated with the latest position in law against the possession of drugs and narcotic substances. Justice Rekha Mittal of the High Court was hearing a bail plea when she noticed that the Special Judge had allowed the bail application of a co-accused on grounds that the banned substance seized was below the “commercial quantity” by discounting the non-drug salts in the mixture in estimating the quantity. The Supreme Court in Hira Singh and another Vs. Union of India held that in case of seizure of a mixture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, the quantity of the neutral substance in the mixture is not to be excluded while estimating “commercial quantity”. The neutral substance must be taken into consideration along with actual content by weight of the offending drug in determining between the small or commercial quantity of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances. Hira Singh was decided on April 22, 2020. Justice Rekha Mittal said that the Special Judge either did not keep herself updated with the latest position in law or did not bother to examine the case in the light of the latest judgment of the Supreme Court.
Background of case
According to the prosecution, the accused was apprehended on October 4, 2019, by officials of Khaman police station with 420 Lomotil tablets and 420 Alprax05 tables, all of which fell within the quantitative limit of commercial quantity. The special judge, however, held “But perusal of the FSL report shows that 420 lomotil tablets contain 26.46 of salt Diphneoxylate (above 50 grams commercial) and 420 tablets of Alprex contain 50.04 of salt Alprazolam (above 100 grams commercial) and the above said quantity of the tablets, due to different salt, falls within non-commercial range”. The HC also granted liberty to the State to file an appropriate application in light of the judgment in Hira Singh to seek cancellation of bail to the co-accused. As for the main plea by the accused Mandeep Singh, the Court dismissed it as withdrawn.