Karnataka High Court

Karnataka High Court: In a case where the applicant-accused seeks bail on being apprehended by police, having possession of Ganja and Bhang together, K Natarajan, J. granted bail to the applicant as Bhang will not be considered along with Ganja to measure commercial quantity. The Court held that until forensic science lap report does not confirm that Bhang is prepared out of charas or ganja, it is not safe to conclude the same.

The Begur Police registered suo motu complaint on receiving credible information regarding two people carrying Ganja and Bhang. The police raided the spot and seized 29 kgs of bhang of different companies and 400 grams of ganja from the possession of the petitioner. FIR was registered under Section 20 (b) of Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (‘NDPS Act’). The petitioner was thereby arrested and was seeking bail under Section 439, Criminal Procedure Code, by filing the present application.

Counsel for State submitted that Bhang is prepared out of the ganja leaves therefore it comes under the definition of ganja under Section 2 (iii) of NDPS Act. Considering, Bhang also comes under Ganja, it will bring the articles seized to be more than commercial quantity, thus bail must be rejected.

Placing reliance on Madhukar v. State of Maharashtra, 2002 SCC OnLine Bom 1271 and Arjun Singh v. State of Haryana, 2004 SCC OnLine P&H 828, the Court noted that there is no scientific evidence before the Court to show that the Bhang is prepared out of either charas or ganja or ganja leaves. Since ganja leaves and seeds are excluded from the definition of ganja and nowhere in the NDPS Act, the Bhang is referred as a prohibited drink or prohibited drug. Even the State government has not made any rules under the NDPS as prohibitory drug or issued any notifications in respect of Bhang.

The Court further noted that Bhang is a traditional drink and most of the people drink in North India especially near Shiva temples. Bhang is also sold in the marked with branded names, thus until the receipt of forensic science lap report does not confirm that Bhang is prepared out of charas or ganja, it is not safe to conclude the same.

Thus, the Court granted bail to the applicant as he was only in possession of 400 grams of ganja, which is below commercial quantity.

[Roshan Kumar Mishra v. State of Karnataka, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 1484, decided on 26-08-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

S Manoj Kumar, Advocate, for the Petitioner;

R D Renukaradhya, Advocate, for the Respondent.

*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

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