SC on anti-narcotics law: Quantity will determine punishment not Purity

On April 23, 2020, the Supreme Court of India pronounced that it is the quantity of the banned drug mixture that will decide the punishment of the offender and not the purity. The clarification was given by the apex court under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

Highlights

In order to determine whether the drugs are in “small or commercial quantity”, the neutral substance in the mixture is to be included along with actual weight. This is being clarified by the court as according to the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances act, the punishment for possessing commercial quantity of drugs is more than that of smaller quantity.

What is the issue?

In illegal drug markets, the drugs are adulterated or mixed with other substances. This is done to reduce the vaporizing rates of heroin. They add chalk powder, zinc oxides and other cheaper but more dangerous impurities.

Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Act, 1985

The act prohibits a person to manufacture, produce, cultivate, possess, purchase, store, transport or consume narcotic drugs. Under the act, the GoI can constitute Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Consultative Committee to provide advise on matters relating to administration of the act. The committee shall consist of maximum of 20 members.

Under the act, the GoI shall constitute National Fund to control drug abuse.

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