aryan khan: center withholds cabinet note to change drug law amid debate

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The Center accepted a draft cabinet memorandum aimed at amending the 1985 law on narcotics, drugs and psychotropic substances (NDPS) during the next parliamentary session and is preparing to launch further consultations on the subject. It comes amid a debate over the provisions of the law and its implementation in the wake of the Aryan Khan case and, before that, that of Sushant Singh Rajput.

ET has learned that the Revenue Department, the nodal administrative authority for the NDPS Act, withdrew the bill late last week, citing the need for “further consideration” of the matter.

The bill would have proposed to impose a fine for the first offenses, compulsory community / social work for the second offenses and a jail term for subsequent offenses, in addition to introducing financial penalties for offenses of such a nature. procedural or technical.

Senior government officials called for a review of the proposals based on suggestions made by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment and others on the need to differentiate users from traffickers, decriminalize personal consumption and introduce rehabilitation and community work modules for drug addicts, rather than imprisonment. and criminal action.

  • Senior government officials called for consideration of the proposals based on suggestions made by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and others.
  • Suggestions include the need to differentiate users from traffickers
  • Decriminalize personal consumption
  • Introduce rehabilitation and community work modules for drug addicts, rather than imprisonment and criminal prosecution

Draft proposals

ET was the first to report on October 20 that the Center was seeking to amend the NDPS law and had begun inter-ministerial consultations on the matter with the Home Office requesting administrative oversight and social sector ministries calling for the decriminalization and rehabilitation of drug addicts.

The attempt to change the NDPS law began with a recent order from the High Court of Tripura, which found an anomaly in section 27A. An order was issued on September 30 to remedy this.

The government then took the view that certain other amendments were needed to “strengthen the current regulatory framework for narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and controlled substances in India” by removing “loopholes in the existing law”, depending on the reasons. invoked by the Ministry of Revenue.

The ministry had tabled a cabinet note last month to pilot the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to replace the ordinance, with additional amendments.

The changes, according to the ministry, were intended to “increase the penalties for certain offenses related to trafficking in large quantities of drugs, to include controlled substances in the category of serious offenses in terms of granting bail, giving more to empower law enforcement agencies in treating its investigation as a judicial proceeding under Sections 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code and to include the provision for confiscation of property in the case where the cases (were) of lesser quantity, in order to increase the scope. ”

“Graduating the sentence” for drug use is essential given the current debate. The draft, now withdrawn, would have recommended that clause 27 of the bill be amended to read that subject to section 39 and under section 64A, anyone who consumes or possesses for the purpose of consuming a narcotic or psychotropic substances will be liable to a fine of up to 10,000.

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