GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

The Parliament on 20 December 2021 passed the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which aims at correcting “drafting errors” in the NDPS Act, 1985. The Finance Minister, introducing the bill, said there was “no reason to oppose” it as it simply seeks to rectify “clerical errors” in the existing law. The bill will replace an ordinance that the government promulgated in September.

The amendment

  1. The NDPS Act, 1985, regulates the manufacture, transport and consumption of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
  2. In 2014, the Act was amended and the clause number of the definition of “illicit activities” changed.
  3. The Act mentions certain illicit activities such as cultivating cannabis or manufacturing narcotic drug.
  4. However, the section on penalties for financing such activities was not changed, so it continued to refer to the earlier clause number of the definition.
  5. The matter came up before the Tripura High Court, when an accused pointed out that the penalty section referred to a blank list. In June this year, the court asked the government to amend the law.
  6. On 30 September this year, the government promulgated an ordinance amending the section on penalties to correct this.
  7. The new bill will replace the ordinance, and the amendment will be deemed to have been in effect from 1 May 2014.