Udayavni Special

Drug dealing: Death penalty for certain offences


Team Udayavani, Sep 7, 2020, 4:36 PM IST

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Mangaluru: The Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act under which few Actress Ragini Dwivedi and few others are booked is an Act of the Parliament of India that prohibits a person the production, manufacturing, cultivation, possession, sale, purchasing, transport, storage, or consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.

The Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, commonly referred to as the NDPS Act came into force on 14 November 1985.

The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 23 August 1985. It was passed by both the Houses of Parliament, received assent from then President Giani Zail Singh on 16 September 1985. The NDPS Act has since been amended thrice — in 1988, 2001 and 2014. The Act extends to the whole of India and it applies also to all Indian citizens outside India and to all persons on ships and aircraft registered in India.

Punishment:

As per the NDPS Act act anyone who contravenes it will face punishment based on the quantity of the banned substance, where the contravention involves a small quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to 1 year, or with a fine which may extend to Rs10,000 or both.

Where the contravention involves a quantity lesser than commercial quantity but greater than a small quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years and with fine which may extend to Rs1 lakh.

Where the contravention involves a commercial quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 10 years but which may extend to 20 years and also a fine which shall not be less than Rs 1 lakh but which may extend to Rs 2 lakh.

Death penalty:

Section 31A, NDPS Act, 1985 already has a provision of the death penalty for subsequent conviction under the law. First incorporated in the statute in 1989, the Section 31A was amended in 2001 introducing the death penalty for a subsequent conviction. However, 13 years later, another amendment in 2014 made it optional for the judge to award the death sentence.

Bail:

The offences under the NDPS Act are considered to be of more serious nature than usual and also viewed with more scrutiny by the courts. Cases under the NDPS Act,1985 cannot be dealt with by any ordinary Court, not even by the Court of Sessions. Section 36 of the NDPS Act,1985 calls for the formation of special courts for cases under the NDPS Act to ensure speedy trial and proper judicial scrutiny over them. The judge presiding over the Special Court must have been an immediate Sessions or Additional Sessions judge or of the higher level before the appointment as per Section 36(3) of the NDPS Act, 1985.

This is to ensure high standards of judicial scrutiny over the matters. The Special Courts exercise same power and jurisdiction as the Court of Sessions do over general offences as provided by Section 36 C of the Act. The High Courts shall have the same authority as they do while dealing with other offences as per the Section 36 B of the Act. All offences under the NDPS Act are declared to be of Cognizable nature under Section 37(a) of the Act.

This implies that for even a small offence committed under NDPS Act an accused can be placed under police custody immediately without a warrant. The special nature of the formation of Courts and the offences under the NDPS Act are highlighted to present the conflicting nature of the bar put by Section 37 of the NDPS Act against granting of Anticipatory bail.

Speaking with this regard Special Public Prosecutor, Pushparaj Adyanthaya said, “Drug cases are increasing day by day but the punishment is less and many of the cases were closed due to lack of evidence.”

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