Amid Aryan Khan case, Social justice ministry recommends avoiding jail for drug users, seizure of small amounts

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October 24, 2021 10:58 AM

Section 27 of the NDPS Act has provision for imprisonment of up to a year or a fine of up to Rs 20,000, or both, for consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.

The suggestions were made as a part to review the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

The Social justice ministry has recently made several suggestions to the Department of Revenue in which it has taken a more humane approach recommending avoiding prison for drug users and addicts. The development comes at a time when the Narcotics Control Bureau is tightening its grip on the drug users and peddlers and people are calling for reforms in drug laws. The NCB is currently dealing with one of the high-profile cases involving actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan.

The suggestions were made as a part to review the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. The Department of Revenue is NDPS Act’s nodal administrative authority and had invited suggestions from several ministries including the Home Ministry, Health Ministry, Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry, the Narcotics Control Bureau and CBI, to suggest changes to the law, reported the Indian Express.

In a recommendation, the Social Justice Ministry has also sought to decriminalise possession of small quantities of drugs meant for personal consumption and had suggested treating drugs users as victims and referring them for de-addiction and rehabilitation.

It may be recalled that drug consumption or possession is a criminal offence in India. In its present form, the NDPS Act only adopts a reformative approach towards addicts.

Section 27 of the NDPS Act has provision for imprisonment of up to a year or a fine of up to Rs 20,000, or both, for consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance. This section doesn’t differentiate between addicts, first-time users and recreational users. The Social Justice Ministry has made the recommendations for these provisions proposing that the prison term and fine be replaced with compulsory treatment in government-run rehabilitation and counselling centres for at least a month.

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