The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Act, 2014

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The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Act, 2014 (Act no. 16 of 2014) has received the assent of President of India on 7th March, 2014 and it was enacted with the object to amend the provisions of the Original Act of 1985 i.e. Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (Act no. 61 of 1985) dated 16th September, 1985 which was to provide for consolidations of laws relating to narcotic drugs and for other relevant topics thereof. Besides this Amending Act, the Original Act was amended by the Act of 1988, 2001, etc.

The Amending Act of 2014 under its Section 2, requires amendment of Section 2, which is dealing with definitions of certain terms used under the provisions of the Original Act of 1985, more specifically, it warranted an insertion of new clause after clause (iv) in that section namely, clause (iva), dealing with definition of “Central Government factories” which is defined as the Central Government owned factories or the factories which is being owned by any company wherein the Central Government is holding paid up share capital of at least fifty-one per cent. Similarly, in the same section this Amending Act sought to insert another clause namely, Clause (viiia) by re-lettering the original Clause (viiia) as Clause (viiib). The said clause is to provide for definition of the term “Essential Narcotic Drug” which is defined as the Central Government’s notified narcotic drug for medical and scientific use.

Similarly, the Section 4 of the Original Act of 1985 required under this Act to be amended. The original Section 4 of the Act of 1985 deals with, measures for preventing and combating abuse of narcotic drugs, etc. and also preventing and combating illicit trafficking thereof. In that section sub section (1) the Central Government is required to take such measures. However, the Amending Act required such measures to be adopted by the Central Government to not only prevent such abuse, but also for ensuring their use in Medical and Scientific purposes, by inserting the words ‘for ensuring their medical and scientific use’ in the sub section (1) thereof. The Original provision deals with certain matters under its sub section (2) on which the Central Government is required to provide measures. Those matters are being described under original clauses (a) to (d), however, the Amending Act provided a new clause i.e. Clause (da) which is to take measures for making available for the Medical and Scientific use, the Narcotic drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

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The Original Act under its Section 9, empowers the Central Government to make rules for permitting, controlling and regulating certain cultivation, productions, etc, in such substances, wherein the clause (a)(iii) of sub section (1) thereof, the production and manufacturing of opium and production of poppy straw is to permitted and regulated by the Central Government. However, this Amending Act, provides for a new sub clause under this Section, i.e. sub clause (iiia), wherein the poppy straws produced from plants from which no juice has been extracted through lancing, the possession, transport, inter-state import-export, etc. thereof is also to be permitted and regulated by the Central Government. Similarly, the Amending Act also warranted the insertion of new clause (va) after clause (v) under the Original Act of 1985, wherein the manufacturing, possession, transporting, inter-state import and export, sale, purchase, etc. including use also of essential Narcotic drugs is required to be permitted and regulated by the Central Government and if already been permitted by any State Government prior to this amendment, then such permit should valid for 12 years. Similar important amendment is amendment to the Section 10 of the Original Act, where the State Government is empowered to permit, regulate or control the certain aspects in such substances. The Amending Act intends to amend sub clause (i), wherein possession, transport, etc. of Poppy Straw is being permitted and regulated by the State Government, however, the Amending Act sought to provide that such permitting and regulating should of poppy straws should not include the poppy straw produced from plants from which no juice has been extracted through lancing.

Another important amendment sough under this Amending Act is to exceed the punishment which under original Act, under clause (a) of section 15, 17 and 18 is provided to the extend to six months and now after this Amending Act has been brought into force, the punishment under those sections sought to be exceeded to One years imprisonment. Similar increase in punishment is also sought under Section 20, clause (b)(ii) and item (A). Moreover, the punishments provided under Sections 21 to 23 of the Original Act, sought to be increased similar to the above. The Amending Act also provides for the new punishment under new section 27B, for contravening or breaching the provisions of Section 8A of the Act. Similarly, other amendments relating to punishment is being sought under this Amending Act under subsequent sections.

Further amendment is being made under Section 42 of the Act, which is dealing with entry, search, etc. And similarly, under Section 52A of the Original Act the Amending Act sough amendment of entire sub section (1) thereof with respective changes in it. Similarly, other important amendments have been introduced under this Act, so as to provide updated provisions for effective implementation of the Original Act.

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by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.