Home department clarifies on proposed ND&PS (Manipur Amendment) Ordinance, 2020

The ND&PS (Manipur Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 should not be misunderstood as promulgated as it is at the stage of recommendation.

Deputy Secretary (Home) Peter Salam has clarified that the ND&PS (Manipur Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 should not be misunderstood as promulgated as it is at the stage of recommendation.

Salam stated in a release on Wednesday that the ND&PS (Manipur Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 was placed before the cabinet for recommendation to the Governor for promulgation of the said ordinance. The governor has to reserve the said ordinance for instruction of the President of India as required under the provisions of Article 213 of the Constitution of India.

As such, the question of violation whatsoever of Article 35 of the Indian Constitution does not arise as published in some media reports, the release said. 

It also mentioned that the ND&PS Act, 1985 is a central Act framed for all states in India. However, Manipur's situation may not be similar to other states as Manipur has high percentage of drug abuse due to its proximity to the International Golden Triangle.

Drugs and Poisons are placed in concurrent lists allowing states to frame or modify existing acts/rules appropriately. As such, stringent laws are required to deal with the prevalent drug menace in the State of Manipur, the release stated. 

Further, Peter Salam clarified that the objective for enhancing penal provisions under the proposed/draft ordinance for seizure of drugs in small quantities is to make a deterrent for repeated and small drug peddlers from getting easy bail.

He also clarified that the proposed/draft ordinance is made in line with ND and PS Act, 1985. It is pertinent to mention that Section 27 of ND and PS Act, 1985 also provides punishment for consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.

Whoever consumes any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance shall be punishable, with imprisonment for 6 months/1 year or with fine of rupees ten thousand or twenty thousand or with both depending on the types of drugs consumed, it said referring to the act.

However, under section 64A of ND and PS Act, 1985, any addict who is charged with an offence punishable under section 27 or with offences involving small quantity of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, who voluntarily seeks to undergo medical treatment for de-addiction from a hospital or an institution maintained or recognised by the government or a local authority and undergoes such treatment shall not be liable to prosecution under section 27 or under any other section for offences involving small quantity of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, provided that the said immunity from prosecution may be withdrawn if the addict does not undergo the complete treatment for de addiction.

The above sections i.e. 27 and 64 A of ND and PS Act, 1985 will still be applicable even after the proposed/draft ordinance, it added.

“There is clear demarcation of penal provisions under small quantity and other quantity. In the ND and PS, Act 1985 penal provisions for small quantity is rigorous imprisonment up to one year and fine up to ten thousand rupees. However, in the proposed/draft ordinance, the penal provisions for small quantity is rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than two years but which may be extended to four years and a fine which may extend to one lakh rupees,” the release added.

And as per ND and PS Act, 1985 penal provisions for intermediate quantity is rigorous imprisonment upto 10 years and fine upto one lakh rupees. However, in the proposed/draft ordinance the penal provisions for intermediate quantity (quantity lesser than commercial quantity) is rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may be extended to ten years.

As such it clearly shows proper demarcation of penal provisions for seizure of drugs in different quantity, it added.

First Published:Oct. 21, 2020, 10:27 p.m.

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