Mumbai: In a significant ruling, the Bombay High Court has held that drugs seized from two persons traveling together should be considered as separate seizures. Justice SG Dige, on September 15, granted bail to Sagar Borkar, who was arrested for the possession of ganja (cannabis) last year.
Borkar had approached the high court seeking bail after his plea was rejected by the special court.
On January 8, 2022, Borkar was arrested by the Bharati Vidyapeeth police in Pune and the Anti Narcotics Cell (ANC) for offences punishable under sections 8(c) (possession of a commercial quantity), 22(b)(ii)(c), and 29 (criminal conspiracy) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act) after being found with 10.319 kg of ganja.
Categories of Ganja seizure and its legal implication
Alongside him, the police also arrested a co-accused who was found with 11.24 kg of ganja. The police seized a total of 21.559 kg of ganja.
For ganja, a small amount is considered one kg; between one kg and 20 kg is an intermediate quantity, and above 20 kg is considered commercial.
Borkar’s advocate, Ganesh Gupta, submitted that the police had allegedly recovered only 10 kg of the contraband from him, which falls under the intermediate quantity category.
However, the police claimed that Borkar and the co-accused were found with contraband weighing over 20 kg, which is considered a commercial quantity. They further asserted that since the duo was traveling together, the charge of conspiracy was also invoked in the case.
Justice Dige refused to accept the police's contention. He noted that the police had recovered 10.319 kg of ganja from Borkar and 11.24 kg from the co-accused.
“It is alleged that both the applicant and the co-accused were traveling together, and the contraband recovered from their possession was of a commercial quantity. In my view, although the applicant and co-accused were found together, they were carrying the contraband individually. The recovery of the contraband from the possession of the applicant (Borkar) and the co-accused should be considered separately,” the judge said.
The high court directed Borkar’s release upon furnishing a personal bond of Rs. 25,000. He has also been instructed to report to the police every month for two hours until charges are framed in the case.