Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act

The Supreme Court held that for determining the punishment under the NDPS Act, the quantity of the neutral substances must be included when weighing the seized narcotics.

About the Act

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act passed in 1985 prohibits the production, sale, purchase, transport and consumption of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances in India and also in aircrafts and ships registered to India. It was passed to fulfil India’s obligation under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, Convention on Psychotropic Substances and US Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

Punishment under NDPS Act

The punishment for those accused under the NDPS Act involves imprisonment and fines. The quantum of sentence and the fines depends on the quantity of drug in many cases- small quantity, more than small but less than commercial quantity or commercial quantity of drugs. Abetment, criminal conspiracy and even attempts to commit the crime attracts punishment under this act.

About the SC Ruling

A Supreme Court bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, and M R Shah held that the quantity of neutral substances (like caffeine) in a narcotic drug (like heroin) must be included when weighing it for determining the accused’s punishment. This is in case of small or commercial quantities.


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