Punjab CM Amarinder Singh writes to Rajnath Singh, recommends death penalty for first-time drug offenders

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New Delhi | Published: July 4, 2018 3:19:36 PM

CM recommended death penalty on the very first conviction and said that his government is committed to end drug abuse from the state.

The decision comes amid severe criticism faced by the Congress government. (File imgae: IE)

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh recommending death penalty for drug offenders. Terming drug abuse as a menace for the state, the CM recommended death penalty on the very first conviction and said that his government is committed to end drug abuse from the state.

“Have today written to HM Rajnath Singh ji conveying my government’s recommendation for approving death penalty to drug-related-offenders on first conviction only. We are firm in our resolve to wipe out the menace of drug abuse from Punjab,” Singh told news agency ANI on Wednesday.

The decision comes amid severe criticism faced by the Congress government over the high number of cases of drug abuse being reported from the state. Moreover, drug abuse has been a major poll issue for every political party in the state.

The decision to recommend death penalty was taken on July 2 at a meeting of the Punjab Cabinet chaired by the Chief Minister.

“My government has decided to recommend death penalty for drug peddling/smuggling. The recommendation is being forwarded to the Union government. Since drug peddling is destroying entire generations, it deserves exemplary punishment. I stand by my commitment for a drug free Punjab,” Singh tweeted after the meeting on July 2.

Recently, four more deaths were reported from the state. In the Talwandi Sabo area of Bhatinda, a 24-year old man was found dead. Later, it was revealed that he was an addict for the past three-four years. The other three deaths were reported from different areas of Firozpur district of the state.

According to an Indian Express report, Section 31A, NDPS Act, 1985 already has a provision of 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 the subsequent conviction. However, 13 years later, another amendment in 2014 made it optional for the judge to award the death sentence.

On this, the Punjab government has clarified that it has demanded death penalty in the ‘first’ instance of conviction.

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