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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Weight of paper with LSD drops cannot be counted in determining drug: Bombay HC

The bail applicant was arrested by Vartaknagar police station in Thane on June 8, last year, after he was allegedly found in possession of 10 pieces of papers containing LSD drops.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | New Delhi | Updated: December 10, 2020 5:47:20 pm
The Bombay High Court. (Express Photo/File)

The Bombay High Court recently held that the weight of paper used to carry LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide) drops cannot be counted while ascertaining the quantity of the contraband material — if it is small, intermediate or commercial — as prescribed in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985. The court held that the process of drying LSD solution on a piece of paper merely facilitates consumption of drug and doesn’t change the substance of drug or its chemical composition.

Observing this, a single- judge bench of Justice Sandeep K Shinde on December 7 granted bail to a 39-year-old Thane resident, Hitesh Malhotra, who was allegedly found in possession of LSD doses and charas.

The court noted that Thane Sessions Court had refused bail to Malhotra by wrongly including the weight of the paper used to carry the LSD drops in the total quantity of seized drug.

The bench noted that LSD is sold on the streets in small tablets (micro dots), capsules or gelatine squares, and, in its pure state, it is white, odourless substance. However, LSD is so potent that an effective small dose of pure drug is virtually invisible. As a result, it is usually diluted in other materials. In this case, the drug was found in the form of drops, dried onto 23 pieces of papers, the Court noted.

The bail applicant was arrested by Vartaknagar police station in Thane on June 8, last year, after he was allegedly found in possession of 10 pieces of papers containing LSD drops.

However, the bench noted that 13 pieces of papers containing LSD drops were allegedly found and recovered from his house and its weight has not been stated in panchanama or in the chargesheet.

The Thane sessions court denied bail to Malhotra and noted that the quantity of the drug recovered from him was ‘a commercial quantity’. In case of LSD, commercial quantity as per NDPS Act is 0.1 grams and 1 kilogram in case of charas. The refusal of bail by the trial court prompted Malhotra to move the High Court.

Advocate Suhas Oak for the applicant submitted that 10 pieces of paper containing LSD drops, found with the applicant was 140 milligrams. However, 13 pieces of papers containing LSD drops allegedly recovered from applicants’ house and its weight had not been stated in the chargesheet.

Relying on Chemical Analyser’s report, Oak said that net weight of the actual quantity of LSD recovered from the applicant was 0.4128 milligram and same was less than commercial quantity of 0.1 gram.

The applicant’s counsel further said that recovered charas, which weighed 970 grams too, was less than commercial quantity.

However, additional public prosecutor Prajakta P Shinde opposed the plea. She argued that since dried LSD drops from solution cannot be segregated or separated from paper, it amounts to a ‘mixture’ and, therefore, the weight of the paper is to be counted with LSD dots for determining the quantity of drug, which was more than 0.1 gram.

After hearing submissions, Justice Shinde noted, “In my view, though after swallowing piece of paper, which causes release of drug but since that paper only carries drug and facilitates its consumption, the paper with LSD drops, as a whole, is neither ‘preparation’ nor a ‘mixture’ within the meaning of the NDPS Act.”

In light of this, the court directed Malhotra to be released on bail on furnishing personal bond of Rs 1 lakh along with sureties.

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