There is a huge difference between the consumption of drugs and the supply and/or smuggling of drugs. Everyone needs to understand this – people supporting Shah Rukh Khan, those spewing venom against him, as well as the people conducting the investigation. After remaining in jail for a little short of a month, Aryan Khan was granted bail in the case Thursday evening.
Aryan Khan, SRK’s eldest son, was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau on October 3 after a team raided the Cordelia Empress cruise near Mumbai at an alleged drug party. Neither Shah Rukh Khan nor his wife, interior designer Gauri Khan, have issued any statement regarding the development.
While most of them stayed mum on the issue, a few members of the Hindi film industry have raised voice against Aryan Khan’s arrest and subsequent denial of bail on at least three occasions by different courts.
The way Aryan Khan’s arrest has clouded national media casts doubts on whether it is all a manufactured and targeted campaign. Add to it, the numerous denials of bail to the 23-year-old man against whom the NCB has no proof. The team has only been able to come up with various theories and has WhatsApp chats to support these theories. These chats may or may not be misinterpreted versions of the younger generation’s language.
Unfortunately, the people speaking out in solidarity with SRK and his son have been mostly missing the point. Some of them have claimed that the consumption of drugs should not be criminalised. A few wondered if it was all simply to target the Bollywood actor – the Muslim star who is yet to toe the government line. However, fact of the matter is that these may be related, but separate debates.
Aryan Khan was a young man partying – allegedly also consuming drugs – just as many others in his age and financial bracket do. Even youth with different financial resources resort to drugs. And, like every other young man, he deserves a chance. A chance to prove whether or not he is guilty, in the first place. And, even if he is, he deserves a chance to mend his ways and move ahead in life.
This case, irrespective of whether Aryan Khan will be proven to be guilty or not, should not be a reflection on his upbringing, neither should it be a reading of what role his religion plays. And, of course, Shah Rukh Khan – the actor, the star, and father of a young man, must not be held accountable for a mistake that his son may have committed.
The punishment for consumption and possession of drugs varies with the amount of drugs seized. These also differ based on the kind of drug seized from the culprit. Let us take a look at how the law differentiates between consumption and commercial use of drugs:
Under section 27, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act prescribes the punishment for possession of or consumption “any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance” in a small quantity.
For cocaine, diacetylmorphine, morphine or any other narcotic drug or any psychotropic substance, the convict may be given “upto one year of rigorous imprisonment or a fine of upto Rs 20,000”.
Dealings outside India
The act specifies that external dealings in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, outside India will attract a punishment of upto 20 years of jail.The imprisonment cannot be less than 10 years if the accused is convicted. The convict will also be levied a fine of at least Rs 1 lakh and the fine may be extended upto Rs 2 lakh.
Cultivation of opium, cannabis or coca plants without a licence
The punishment for the cultivation of any cannabis plant is upto ten years of rigorous imprisonment for up to 10 years and/or a fine upto Rs 1 lakh.