Recovery of ‘ganja’ from couple’s bedroom: HC says both culpable

The Delhi High Court has said the recovery of contraband drugs from the bedroom of a couple, used to consuming narcotic substances, is attributable to both the husband and wife as the seizure was made from their joint space.

It, however, granted bail to the woman, as the substance impounded was of “intermediate quantity”.

The high court’s observation came while rejecting a woman’s contention that the recovery of ganja’ from their bedroom was made at the instance of her husband and that it cannot be attributed to her.

“It is pertinent to note that the bedroom is a private space shared by a husband and wife. Recovery of ganja from the bedroom may be at the instance of the husband of the applicant (woman) but the fact remains that it was recovered from the joint space of the applicant and her husband,” Justice Jasmeet Singh said.

The high court said it was nowhere stated or argued that the woman and her husband were living in separate rooms or had strained relationship.

“The recovery was also not from a person but from a joint space and hence, to state that the recovery of 1.03 kgs (ganja) made from the bedroom cannot be attributable to the applicant would be a wrong assertion,” it said.

The high court said, “In the instant case, both the applicant and husband/ co-accused are, admittedly, consumers of narcotic substances. Being husband and wife, they share a special relationship, therefore, it is trite to infer that the applicant as well as her husband/co-accused were aware of the contraband kept in their bedroom at their residence and were in conscious possession of the same.”

The court was hearing the bail plea by the wife in a case registered against her and her husband under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).

The case, which relates to an alleged drug syndicate operating through Telegram messaging application, was lodged in 2021 and ganja, a banned substance, was recovered from the couple’s residence and the office premises of the husband.

The woman was arrested from her residence in Surat and brought to Delhi.

Seeking bail, the woman’s counsel argued that the recovery of 1.3 kg ganja was done at the instance of her husband and not her.

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Justice Singh, however, said, “I am unable to agree with the argument put forth by the counsel for the applicant. The recovery of ganja from the bedroom (that is, residential premises) of the applicant is attributable to both, the applicant and the husband/ co-accused “

However, the court said since the ganja recovered in the case fell under intermediate quantity, stringent bail conditions under the provisions of the NDPS Act will not be applicable and granted bail to the woman.

“Investigation is complete and no investigation has been sought or conducted qua the applicant since October 4, 2021. Nothing is to be recovered from her or at her instance. The charges are yet to be framed and the trial will take considerable time,” it said, enlarging the woman on bail.

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