Although Bollywood actor Fardeen Khan may have confessed that he had consumed banned substance on four to five occasions and sought permission to undergo detoxification, the relief is still a couple of days ahead.
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday reserved the order on Khan's application seeking permission to undergo detoxification in a de-addiction center. The application was filed in order to attract lesser penalty.
Khan, who was arrested in May 2001 by Narcotics Control Bureau in suburban Juhu when he was allegedly about to buy one gram of cocaine from a drug peddler, had approached the HC for detoxification after sessions court rejected his application in September.
If the court permits Khan to undergo detoxification and he comes out clean, the prosecution against him for possessing drugs could be withdrawn. The Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act permits an accused to seek immunity from prosecution.
K Tulsi, Khan's counsel, argued that he had not committed any violent crime hurting members of the society. "He made a mistake in his youth and now wants to rectify it. By consuming wrong substance, he had caused harm only to himself and to society," argued Tulsi.
Even the police are admitting that Khan was in the process of purchasing one gram of cocaine. "The statute suggests that when small quantity is involved, it should be presumed that it is for personal consumption and not for sale," added Tulsi.
However, the prosecution opposed his plea stating that during the trial it would be determined whether the banned substance was for personal consumption or not. "Merely on his statement it cannot be concluded that it was for personal consumption. Let the trial court decide that," argued counsel for the central government Poornima Kantharia.
Khan had sought immunity under section 64 of the NDPS Act. The section states that "an addict should voluntarily show willingness to undergo treatment." However, it has to be proved that he is an addict and is dependent on the banned substance and was purchasing for his consumption. "This can only be determined during the trial," said Kantharia.
Retorting to the argument, Tulsi stated that the section provides for immunity from prosecution which means right from the time of filing of charge sheet till facing the trial. "Trial may take ten years¸ till then you cannot make a person suffer," said Tulsi.
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