The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Act, 2001 is the continuation of the parent Act, The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 which was enacted by the Parliament to comply with international legal instruments to prevent the manufacture and utilization of narcotic drugs and other psychotropic substances. The application of the earlier enactment extended only to the Indian Territory but after the amendment, the Act extends to the Indian citizens abroad and the persons on ships and aircrafts that are registered in India.
The parent Act has provided for the constitution of the National Fund for the Control of Drug Abuse by the Central Government. The Amendment Act provides that the fund shall be utilized fort he purpose of:
- Fighting illegal traffic in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances or other prohibited substances;
- Prevent the mistreatment of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances;
- Recognizing, curing and rehabilitating addicts;
- Control drug abuse;
- Granting education to the community against the drug abuse;
- Delivering drugs to addict where considered as medical urgency.
The Act also provides that the Central Government may establish a Governing Body to guide the Government and to grant money from the fund according to the limit prescribed by the Central Government. The legislation further prohibit persons from altering or transferring any property with the knowledge that the property is acquired by committing an offence under the Act or under any related laws of any foreign nation or from an act of involvement in the offence with an intention to disguise the illegal source of the property or to support a person to commit the offence or to escape from the legal effects. A person shall not conceal the exact nature, origin, place and disposition of property with the awareness that the property is acquired by committing an offence under the Act or any other enactment. The Act also bans the acquiring, possessing or utilization of property acquired by committing an offence under the Act or any other law of foreign nation, with the understanding of the same.
The punishment for the infringement of the provisions relating to poppy straw has been substituted with other provisions. A person who contravenes the provisions of the present legislation, rules, orders or any conditions of license provided, manufactures, owns, imports or exports inter-state, disposes, acquires, utilizes or skips to warehouse poppy straw or eliminates or does any other activity with regard to warehouse poppy straw shall be penalized according to the provisions of the Act. Where the infringement involves very little amount, the punishment shall be rigorous imprisonment extendable up to six months or with fine up to ten thousand rupees or with imprisonment and fine. The punishment increases with the quantity of infringement and shall also inflict fine more than two lakh rupees. The Act further punishes for the infringement of the provision of the Act with regard to coca plant, coca leaves, opium poppy and prepared opium. The contravention relating to the following matters are also made punishable under the Act:
- Produced drugs and preparation;
- Psychotropic substances;
- Export of transshipment of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances by illegal means;
- Permission to use premises for committing offence;
- Utilization of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances.
The Court shall consider certain factors for inflicting higher punishments than prescribed like application of violence or weapons by the offender, offender works under a public office and has used the merits of the office to commit offence, the minors are employed for committing offence, commission of the offence in an educational institution or social service facility, the criminal involves in an organized group etc.
The Amendment Act, 2001 inserted and substituted many important provisions for the strict compliance with the objectives of the legislation. The Act is again proposed to be amended by initiating The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2011 which has not yet obtained approval due to many political and social explanations.