Last Updated on August 24, 2021 by The Health Master
The high court has denied bail to a Mohali resident who claimed to be a passenger while sitting in the front seat of an auto-rickshaw with the driver in a case of drug seizure.
“The auto-rickshaw was being driven by Harjit Singh Baidwan and by his side was sitting one Gurlal, who cannot be said to be a passenger. In case he was one, he would have been sitting in the rear seat.
The fact that he was sitting in the front shows that he was a close acquaintance or a friend of Baidwan,” the bench of justice Gurvinder Singh Gill said, adding that in these circumstances, both the accused could safely be attributed conscious possession of the recovered contraband.
The FIR was registered on January 17 under Section 22 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. As per the police, when they were patrolling in Sector 66 of Mohali, an auto-rickshaw being driven by Baidwan was signalled to stop; Gurlal was sitting in the front with him. The driver tried to speed away but the police were able to stop them.
Upon checking, a black bag was found to be hanging from the driver seat in which 14 injections of Buprenorphine (2ml each) and 14 Avil vials (10ml each) along with seven needles were recovered. The duo could not produce any document to justify the possession of the injections.
The petitioners’ counsel had told court that they had falsely been implicated and that they could not be attributed conscious possession of the contraband allegedly recovered.
In any case, as per Rule 66 of the NDPS Act, an individual may possess up to 100 dosage units at a time for personal medical use, and that the recovered quantity was much less than that. It was further argued that Gurlal was a passenger in the auto-rickshaw.
The court while dismissing the plea observed that the court was unable to accept the contention as the petitioners could not show anything to the effect that the same was for their personal medical use.
The recovered quantity of contraband fell in the category of “commercial” and would attract fetters imposed by Section 37 of the NDPS Act in the matter of grant of bail, the court said, adding that the apex court had already held that a liberal approach in matters of bail in drug seizure cases was uncalled for.