Bombay HC’s Judgement Cited by Aryan Khan’s Lawyers for Bail

Reformation is to be considered when a drug-accused is young and lacking antecedents in any drug offences, the Bombay High Court recently observed while granting bail to a duo arrested in June following a police raid on a private bungalow in Igatpuri.

It was this judgment that Aryan Khan’s lead counsel, Amit Desai, and Satish Maneshinde, cited in their request while applying for bail before the special NDPS judge.

According to Justice Bharati Dangre, the Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) imposes deterrent sentences on those who traffic in significant quantities, and addicts, but young people arrested for the first time “deserve one opportunity by restoring their freedom,” the Times of India reported.

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“Adolescence and youth are the phases of lifetime, where making of irrational and impulsive decisions may be favoured by some,” Justice Dangre said. The Igatpuri bungalow was rented for a birthday party, and police discovered several people with less than 6 gm cocaine, 5 gm ganja, and 1 gm charas during the raid.

There were 27 people in attendance at the party. Cocaine traces were also discovered in the swimming pool, according to police, and blood and urine samples tested positive for consumption.

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan and some others were arrested by the NCB recently following a raid on a Goa-bound cruise ship, based on a tip-off that a party was to take place onboard the vessel. An NCB team led by its zonal director Sameer Wankhede had raided the ship and claimed to have recovered banned drugs. Aryan and other accused are currently lodged in jail.

The men in the Igatpuri case, aged 27 and 34, were represented by senior counsel Aabad Ponda, advocates Kushal Mor, Rishi Bhuta, and Anurag Garg, who argued that the accused were not informed of their right to be searched in the presence of a magistrate. The 27-year-old, who is seeking bail, stated that the cocaine discovered in a bag was only for consumption because he is “purely an end user.” His lawyers argued that it is non-commercial and hence rigours on granting bail are not attracted.

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There was no seizure on the personal search of the party organiser, the second bail seeker. According to the lawyers, all contraband was for personal consumption and not for sale or distribution. Ponda urged the HC to take a reformative approach toward young people who might be enticed by temptation and curiosity about the illegal substance and end up in trouble.

Justice Dangre said the challenge today focuses on the issue of drug addiction in youth and how to tackle it, the report said. “Experimentation with alcohol and drugs is common. Unfortunately, the youths do not foresee the link between their action today and its consequences tomorrow. It is crucial to uncover the root of youths and young adults, which necessarily would involve posing questions, understanding the problems at hand and having an insight into if and how badly this problem would be eradicated and its progress stalled,” the Judge said in her order, adding, “It is indeed a harrowing reality.”

The two had been apprehended on June 27, and were denied bail by the special trial court. After nearly two months in jail, the HC granted them bail on August 24. The HC also claimed that the Section 50 requirement of informing suspects of their rights had not been met.

“The suspect has to be clearly informed that he has a right to be searched before either of the authorities and, if he demands, he can be searched before them,” said Justice Dangre, the report mentioned. The drugs seized also included 1 gm charas and 6 gm ganja, that were both small-quantity.

The HC also rejected the prosecution’s submission, stating that one of the two who brought the substance and offered it to other accused present at the party would “by no stretch of the imagination assign him the role of a drug peddler.”

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