The Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985

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The Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 was enacted on 16th September, 1985. The act was legislated with aim to amend and consolidate laws relating to psychotropic substances and narcotic drugs. It also lays stringent punishments inorder to deter illegal trade practices of narcotics and psychotropic substances. The Act was amended twice vide The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Act, 1988 and The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Act, 2001.

Section 2 of the Act lays definitions of various important terms such as cannabis, cannabis plant, controlled substances, manufactured drugs, medicinal cannabis, narcotic drug, opium, opium poppy, import, export etc. are a few to name.

The Act directs the government authorities to take measure to control illicit trade practices of narcotic drugs. The Act empowers the Central Government and State Government to establish such authority which shall discharge functions pertaining to control of NDPS. The government shall constitute the authority after notifying in official gazette.

Supreme Court in State v. Kulwant Singh , AIR 2003 SC 1599, it was held that section 4 sub clause (1) does not establish Narcotic control Bureau, it lays grounds for establishing such authority as is necessary for combating and preventing abuse of narcotic drugs.

Under the Act a National Fund for Control of drug abuse shall be established under section 7 A.  Chapter III of the Act deals with prohibition, control and regulation. Section 8 of the act stringently lays that no person shall himself or employ any person for cultivation of coco plant, cannabis or opium. No person shall produce, manufacture, sell, purchase, store goods that are Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic substances in nature. Section 9 of the Act bestows powers on central government to permit control and regulated the production, distribution and selling of narcotic drugs and Psychotropic substances similar powers shall lie with the State Government as per section 10 of the Act.

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Chapter IV of the Act is most important as it lays punishment for various offences committed against the provisions of the Act. The act divides the quantity of banned narcotic drugs into three these are small quantity, more than small quantity but less than medium quantity and commercial quantity. While possession of small quantity may not be always punishable or if punishable maximum sentence will not be more than six months, the act lays stringent punishment for possessing commercial quantity which may extend to twenty years.

Cultivation of cannabis, opium, coco plant without licence shall be punished with Rigorous imprisonment up to 10 years and fine up to Rs.1 lakh; trade practices including selling, manufacturing, import and export is punishable with six month in case of small quantity and rigorous imprisonment up to ten years; Preparation to commit an offence under the Act shall be punished with half of the punishment for the offence; act also lays punishment for attempt, abetment and conspiracy which shall be same as the punishment incase offence was committed. Act also lays punishment for repeating the offence and also for consumption of drugs which shall be rigorous imprisonment up to one year or fine of rupees 20,000 or both incase of consuming cocaine, morphine and heroin, consumption of other drugs shall be punished with imprisonment upto six months or with fine of rupees ten thousand or both. The Act also lays punishment for offences not listed under provisions of the Act which shall not be less than six months.

Inorder to deter commission of offence punishable under the act there shall be no suspension, remission or commutation of sentence passed under provisions of the Act. Section 360 of Cr.P.C. which contains provision for relaxation of sentence incase the person against whom sentence passed is a minor and the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 shall not apply against the person accused of committing an offence under provisions of the Act. The Government for purpose of speedy trial shall establish special courts after notifying in official gazette and shall consist of single judge appointed by High Court.

Offence under the Act shall be cognizable and non bailable triable by judge not below than sessions or additional sessions judge. Apart from this the act gives enormous power of search and seizure to police authorities to enter into a building or search a conveyance whenever they have an information or are doubtful that contraband may be found from the place.

Thus, the act lays stringent measures to curb the menace of drug by laying deterrent punishments.

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by Vibhuti Nakta.