Mumbai: With Aryan Khan being denied bail by a Mumbai court on Saturday, experts say that looking at the case as reported it is a fit case for grant of bail.
Retired chief justice of the Bombay High Court, Pradeep Nandrajog said that according to reports no narcotic substance was found on Khan and some substance was found on his friend which is not a commercial quantity. “The case is being played up too much (by the investigating agency). He should have been granted bail as the Narcotics Control Bureau has had sufficient time to interrogate,” he said.
A case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act can be classified into three categories – persons caught with commercial quantity of contraband, caught with small quantity for peddling and those caught with contraband for self-consumption.
For the first two categories, custodial interrogation is required to establish the chain of drug trafficking. However, no custodial interrogation is required of those caught with drugs for self-consumption.
“Here it seems to be the case of petty consumption. Besides, the NCB has had sufficient custody (of Khan) to interrogate him,” said CJ (retd) Nandrajog, adding that “it is a fit case for grant of bail”.
This is not the first time that the NCB’s over-zealousness has come under the scanner.
Last year, the HC had reprimanded the investigating agency while releasing actor Rhea Chakraborty on bail. The HC had said that the agency’s contention that she was part of a drug syndicate and had financed her late friend and film star Sushant Singh Rajput’s drug habit was “unreasonable”.
Former cop-turned-lawyer YP Singh echoed the opinion and said, “Any purchaser can be hauled up for alleged links but this is stretching things too far.”
Senior counsel Amit Desai said that the entire episode needs to be looked at with a different perspective if a small quantity of substance was found. “The legislation has recognised that the consumption of substances needs to be dealt with in a reformative way and not a deterrent way,” said Desai. However, one cannot overlook the fact that no contraband was found on Khan.
Besides, the United Nations had passed a resolution in December 2020 recommending that cannabis be removed from Schedule 1, which classified its possession and consumption as an offence. “Social views in India and the world need to change and work in that direction (to decriminalise cannabis),” added Desai.