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Homechevron_rightIndiachevron_rightMinistry recommends...

Ministry recommends decriminalisation of possession of small quantity drugs

Ministry recommends decriminalisation of possession of small quantity drugs

New Delhi: Possession of small quantities of drugs for personal consumption be decriminalised, the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry recommended in its review of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act it submitted to the Revenue Department, The News Minute (TNM) reported.

There is no provision of relief or exemption under the NDPS Act at the moment, and immunity from prosecution and imprisonment is provided only to those with substance addiction if they volunteer for rehabilitation.

In its review submitted last week, the ministry recommended that instead of imprisonment, compulsory treatment in government centres must be given to those caught with small quantities for personal consumption, an official told TNM.

The union government has specified the definitions of small and commercial quantities of illegal narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances in a gazette notification. As per the government notification, in the case of cannabis and ganja, 100g of cannabis and 1000g of ganja are counted as "small quantities".

According to Section 27 of the NDPS Act, imprisonment of up to a year or a fine of Rs 20,000, or both, will be imposed for possession of drugs as it is a criminal offence in India. Section 27(a) states that if the narcotic substance consumed by the accused is either cocaine, morphine, diacetylmorphine or any other narcotic drug or any psychotropic substance, they will be subjected to rigorous imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of up to Rs 20,000 or both. 27(b) states that if the consumed substance is other than those specified in (a), the accused will be subjected to imprisonment up to 6 months or a fine of Rs 10,000 or both. Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan Khan, who was arrested from a rave party in a cruise ship off coast Mumbai, was charged under the section.

At the moment, relief under section 27 is only for those who are defined as 'addicts' under law. The law defines addicts under the NDPS Act as a person who depends on any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance. Under Section 64A of the NDPS Act, "an addict," charged with an offence punishable under section 27 or with crimes involving a small quantity of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, which voluntarily seek to undergo medical treatment for de-addiction and then undergoes such treatment, shall not be liable to prosecution under Section 27, TNM reports.

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