The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Bill were initiated in the House of People on August 23, 1985. The Bill obtained the assent of the President on September 16, 1985 and came into effect as The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) on November 14, 1985. The legislation was the initiative of the Parliament to comply with the provisions of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 which was concluded at the United Nations Conference at New York on March, 1961 and the Protocol to the Convention implemented during the United Nations Conference at Geneva on March, 1972 and also The Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971 initiated at the United Nations Conference at Vienna on February, 1971.

The Central Government is authorized under the Act to add or omit any psychotropic substances from the list provided under the Schedule according to the information and proof which is available as per the nature, effect and the abuse of any substance or natural objects or salt and the amendments or provisions that are made to any International legal document with regard to such substance, natural objects or salt or formulation of such substance. The Central Government shall take steps for the purpose of avoiding and contesting misuse of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and illicit traffic. The Central Government shall take measures on the following matters:

  • Harmonization of the activities of the officials, State Governments and other authorities under the present legislation or any other law;
  • Obligations to be fulfilled under the International legal documents;
  • Aid and advice the related authorities in the countries abroad and international institutions for the purpose of providing coordination and worldwide action for the prevention and restraint of illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances;
  • Recognition, conduct, education, rehabilitation and collective reintegration of addicts;
  • Other matters according to the discretion of the Central Government for securing effectual completion of the provisions of the Act.

The Central Government is empowered under the Act to appoint Narcotic Commissioner and appoint other officers with the specified designations. The Commissioner shall accomplish the functions and responsibilities relating to the supervision of the cultivation of the opium poppy and the manufacture of opium and shall perform such other functions assigned to the Commissioner. The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Consultative Committee shall be constituted by the Central Government as the advisory body to give instructions to the Central Government for the efficient administration of the provisions of the Act. The Central Government shall also establish National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse which shall be credited according to the provisions of the Act. The Act prohibits the cultivation of coca plant or collect any part of coca plant, manufacture, utilize, consume, dispose and commercial dealings etc. The Act punishes for the infringement of provision relating to poppy straw, coca plant and leaves, prepared opium, opium poppy, cannabis plant etc. The Act also punishes for the abetment, attempt and criminal conspiracy of the offences provided under the Act. For the speedy disposal of cases, the Government may constitute Special Courts in the areas where deemed necessary and the jurisdiction of the Courts are fixed under the Act.

Another enactment dealing with drug laws in India is the Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988 for the purpose of the effective implementation of the provisions of the present legislation. In 2001, the Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances Act was amended which inserted many new provisions dealing with the issue. The Central Government has also formulated Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Rules, 2011 to comply with the powers conferred under the Act. Recently, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2011 has been introduced in the Lok Sabha which is delayed due to different political reasons.