By M.C. Linthoingambee
The major drug laws of India are the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) and the Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. Under the NDPS Act, it is illegal for a person to produce/manufacture/cultivate, possess, sell, purchase, transport, store, and/or consume any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance. Under one of the provisions of the act, the Narcotics Control Bureau was set up with effect from March 1986. The Act is designed to fulfill India`s treaty obligations under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Coming to the legal perspective, these Acts mainly concerns itself with the dealing of the narcotic drugs so that stringent provisions are made for better control and regulation of operations relating to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and other matters connected therewith.
The question which we usually ask ourselves is “What if someone is found in the possession of drugs?” since the same is indeed an offence in itself under the NDPS Act. It matters not whether such possession is for purposes of personal consumption or of a commercial purpose. Although there is a certain criterion in the legal system which says that punishments for possession of drugs are to be awarded depending on the quantity found in possession. However, if he/she is charged with either possession of small quantities of drugs or with consumption of drugs and he voluntarily seeks to undergo medical treatment for non – addiction from a hospital or an institution maintained or recognized by the government or a local authority, he shall not be liable for prosecution. This immunity from prosecution may be withdrawn if he does not undergo the complete treatment for non – addiction. In the note of providing effective justice punishments shall have to be provided for varying on the weight of the possession of drugs held in question – say for small quantity; more than small quantity but less than commercial quantity; or commercial quantity the machinery give punishments – up to 6 months rigorous imprisonment or fine up to Rs. 10,000 or both; punishment up to 10 years rigorous imprisonment and fine up to Rs. 1,00,000; rigorous imprisonment of 10 to 20 years and fine of Rs. 1,00,000 to Rs. 2,00,000 respectively. But not all drugs are bad, we find ourselves constantly cured away of some serious ailments owing to the application of drugs in the medical industry.
While going through some of the local newspapers I came across the busting allegory of drug offenders across the state of Manipur. In the year 2013 itself by following the chronology in the recent searches conducted by the Manipur State Police, drugs worth Rs 1.5 crore was seized at Tulihal Airport, drugs worth Rs 1.3 crore was seized near the NRL Oil Pump at Mantripukhri, the list is indeed long. Those caught at the scene of the action are placed under the drug offenders’ lists and charge sheeted under different sections of the controlling legislation of the country. But in the façade of realizing a means to earn we find ourselves slowly overlooking the wide-eyed spectrum of these drug sellers. Maybe if they were certified personnel at a Pharmacy store, perhaps they would be seen differently.
(M.C. Linthoingambee is an undergraduate pursuing B.Com. LL.B(H). An avid blogger, poet, a seasonal artist and a foodie, she is also a life member to the Indian Society of the Red Cross.)