Bombay High Court: Addressing a very crucial question having relevance with the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances cases, Revati Mohite Dere, J., decided whether blotter paper forms an integral part of the LSD Drug when put on blotter paper for consumption.
A question which would have a bearing in several Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) cases, in which blotter paper containing Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) is seized, arose in the present petition.
Whether the blotter paper forms an integral part of the LSD drug when put on a blotter paper for consumption?
Analysis, Law and Decision
What is LSD?
It is an extremely potent hallucinogen, synthetically made from lysergic acid, found in ergot, a fungus grown on rye and other grains.
Its effects, often called a ‘trip’ can be stimulating, pleasurable and mind altering or it can lead to an unpleasant, sometimes terrifying experience called ‘a bad trip’.
Unlike toilet paper or even tissue paper, blotter paper appears to be made out of an extra-absorbent material and generally includes ingredients such as rice, cotton and even flax seed. It is impossible to visually identify the strength or type of drug when buying.
Further, it is stated that LSD is often added to absorbent paper, such as blotter paper. As noted above, the paper is divided into small, decorated squares (or tabs) with each square representing one dose called a ‘hit’. LSD can also be found in thin squares of gelatin. LSD is taken by mouth and swallowed or also licked off blotter paper.
LSD is a potent, long-lasting psychoactive substance.
Court stated that LSD put on a blotter paper, is capable of being swallowed, after placing it on the tongue. It is thus evident that the blotter paper is capable of being swallowed and is used as one of the methods for consuming LSD.
Merely because the said blotter paper can be licked or put in a glass of water, does not necessarily mean that the blotter paper has to be excluded whilst determining the LSD on the blotter paper.
High Court opined that, a blotter paper, a carrier material, ingested with LSD, forms an integral part of the ingestion by the user of the drug and thus, constitutes preparation of the psychotropic substance i.e. LSD.
Elaborating further, Court added that once it is accepted that a blotter paper ingested/impregnated with LSD, is used as a medium of consumption, the same will squarely fall within the definition of the term ‘preparation’, as defined in Section 2 (xx) of the NDPS Act.
The blotter paper impregnated or ingested with LSD will have to be considered as a whole, whilst determining whether the quantity is a small or commercial quantity.
With respect to the findings of Supreme Court in Hira Singh v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 382, the object and legislative intent behind enacting the NDPS Act, High Court held that the blotter paper forms an integral part of the LSD, when put on a blotter paper for consumption and, as such, the weight of the blotter paper containing LSD will have to be considered for the purpose of determining small or commercial quantity of the offending drug. [Narcotics Control Bureau v. Anuj Keshwani, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 4548, decided on 29-11-2021]
Advocates before the Court:
Mr. Anil C. Singh, ASG a/w Mr. Aditya Thakkar, Mr. Advait Sethna, Mr. Shreeram Shirsat, Ms. Smita Thakur, Mr. Pranav Thacker and Mr. Amandeep Singh Sra for the Petitioner
Mr. Rizwan Merchant a/w Mr. Taraq Sayed, Ms. Gayatri Gokhale and Ms. Zainba Abdi for Respondent No.1
Mr. S. S. Hulke, A.P.P for the Respondent No. 2– State