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NDPS (Amendment) Act 2021

NDPS (Amendment) Act 2021- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: Indian Constitution- Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

NDPS (Amendment) Act 2021_3.1


NDPS (Amendment) Act 2021- Context

  • Recently, the Lok Sabha passed the NDPS (Amendment) Bill that corrects a drafting error in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Act retrospectively.
    • NDPS (Amendment) Act 2021 replaced an ordinance promulgated on September 30 this year.
  • The government said that these retrospective provisions were not “substantive” in nature.

Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)- Background, Mandate, Powers and Key Functions


NDPS (Amendment) Act 2021- Key Points

  • Background: The anomaly crept in when the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act was amended in 2014.
    • NDPS (Amendment) Act 2014 allowed better medical access to narcotic drugs and removed state barriers in transporting and licensing of essential narcotic drugs.
    • Before the 2014 amendment to the NDPS Act, sub-clauses I to v of Section 2 clause (viii-a) defined the term “illicit traffic.”
    • The NDPS (Amendment) Act 2014 changed the number of definitions for such illicit activities.
    • Section (27A) on penalties for financing these illicit activities, on the other hand, was not amended during 2014 amendment of the NDPS Act and remained to refer to the definition’s earlier clause number.
    • Tripura High Court, in June 2021, found the error in the law and directed the Union Home Ministry to amend the provisions of Section 27.
  • Anomaly in the NDPS Act: NDPS (Amendment) Act rectified an error that made provisions in Section 27 of the NDPS Act- providing for punishment of those financing illicit trafficking- inoperable.
    • NDPS (Amendment) Act 2014 enabled easy access to narcotic drugs for medical necessities but did not amend the penal provision accordingly.

Menace of Drug/Substance abuse in India: Causes, Impacts and Solutions


NDPS (Amendment) Act 2021- Associated Concerns

  • Retrospective Implementation: Changes made through the NDPS (Amendment) Act 2021 will come in force with the retrospective effect which has raised concerns as criminal laws can’t be implemented retrospectively.
    • Violative of the Fundamental Rights (Article 20) of the Constitution: Art 20 provides that a person can be punished for an offense retrospectively by the State.
  • Setting a Dangerous Precedent: Legal Experts believe that the proposed amendment will set a dangerous precedent and shake people’s confidence in the supreme legislative institution.

Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)- Background, Mandate, Powers and Key Functions

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