Drug laws in India and its implementation
The main piece of legislation controlling drug offences in India is the Narcotic Drugs and
Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act) of 1985. It controls how narcotics and
psychoactive chemicals are made, manufactured, grown, possessed, sold, bought,
transported, and consumed. Based on their potential for abuse and accepted medicinal
uses, medicines are categorised under the NDPS Act into various schedules or categories.
In addition to drugs like opium, heroin, and cocaine, the legislation lists psychoactive
substances including cannabis, LSD, MDMA (Ecstasy), and amphetamines.
The Act defines offences including the manufacturing, funding, and possession of drugs. The
amount, kind, and nature of the drug(s) used, as well as the offence’s specifics, all affect the
punishments for drug-related offences. The NDPS Act prohibits bail for crimes, and it
provides for harsh penalties like jail time and fines.It permits the use of narcotic medications
and psychoactive substances for medicinal and scientific purposes. To manage and monitor
their distribution and make sure they are not diverted for illegal uses, severe rules and
licensing procedures are in place.
Cannabis (marijuana) cultivation, manufacturing, possession, and sale are all typically
forbidden in India. Nevertheless, it is up to each state to enact its own cannabis-related rules
and legislation. Cannabis has been grown and used for industrial or medical purposes in some
states, but recreational use is still prohibited by federal law. varied Indian states have varied
drug laws and regulations. Some states have amended their drug laws with specific clauses or
Implementation of drug laws in India
Numerous federal, state, and local agencies and ministries work together to administer drug
regulations in India. Law enforcement organisations including the police, the Central Bureau
of Narcotics (CBN), the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), and the Directorate of Revenue
Intelligence (DRI) are primarily responsible for implementing drug prohibitions. These
organisations look into drug-related crimes, carry out raids, nab drugs, and make arrests.
Law enforcement agencies seize narcotics and other related things as evidence when
drug-related actions are discovered. Based on the information discovered during
investigations, suspects charged with narcotics charges are detained and prosecuted.
Investigations are conducted after arrests are made to compile evidence against the accused.
The prosecution is in charge of making their case in court and demonstrating the accused’s
guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Courts hear cases involving drug violations, and the accused is entitled to a fair trial. District
courts, high courts, and the Supreme Court are some of the courts that make up India’s
judicial system. The courts assess the evidence and decide whether a defendant is guilty or
innocent. Based on the seriousness of the offence, suitable punishments, such as jail time and
fines, are applied upon conviction.
It also underlines the value of rehabilitation and treatment for people battling drug addiction
in addition to law enforcement. Drug addicts can get counselling, treatment, and
rehabilitation services from a number of government and non-governmental organisations,
which can assist them in kicking their habit and reintegrating into society. India collaborates
actively with other nations to fight drug trafficking and associated crimes. To stop the flow of
illicit narcotics across borders, it takes part in international efforts, exchanges information,
and works with international organisations.
Implementing drug laws is never always successful, as there are obstacles like the size of the
drug trade, a lack of resources, and changing traffickers’ tactics. To combat these issues,
efforts are still being undertaken to tighten enforcement, raise awareness, and enhance
coordination amongst various agencies.
Limit of consumption to access bail
The specific limit of drug consumption in India to be eligible for bail can vary depending on
the circumstances of the case, the drug involved, and the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs
and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. The NDPS Act categorises drugs into different
schedules, and the penalties for drug offences vary accordingly.
Under this Act, drug consumption is considered an offence, and it can attract penalties such
as imprisonment and fines. However, it must be realised that drug offences under the NDPS
Act are generally non-bailable, meaning that bail may not be granted easily for such offences.
In cases where drug consumption is involved, the court’s discretion plays a crucial role in
granting bail. The court considers various factors, including the quantity of drugs consumed,
the person’s criminal record, the likelihood of the person being a repeat offender, the person’s
role in drug trafficking, and the potential threat to society. The availability and conditions for
bail can vary based on individual state laws and the specific circumstances of the case.
When getting bail becomes difficult
The circumstances under which a person may be denied bail for drug consumption can vary
depending on the specific case, the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic
Substances (NDPS) Act, and the discretion of the court. Each case is unique, and the final
decision rests with the court.
The court considers the severity of the offence when deciding whether to grant bail. Factors
such as the quantity of drugs consumed, the person’s role in drug consumption, and the
potential threat to society is assessed.A person’s previous criminal record, particularly
regarding drug-related offences, can influence the decision on bail. If the person has a history
of drug-related offences, it may decrease the likelihood of bail being granted.
If there is likelihood of tampering with evidence or absconding, the court has discretion and it
may consider the likelihood of the accused tampering with evidence or evading the legal
process when determining bail. If there is a concern that the person may interfere with the
investigation or fail to appear for trial, bail may be denied.
To add, the court also considers the broader impact of drug consumption on society and
public interest. If the court deems that granting bail may pose a risk to public safety or send a
wrong message in relation to drug offences, bail may be denied. Moreover the specific drug
consumed may also play a role in the bail decision. Certain drugs may be considered more
dangerous or have a higher potential for abuse, which may influence the court’s decision on
Supplying and trafficking of illegal substances are generally considered non-bailable offences
under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in India. The NDPS Act
classifies drug-related offences into different categories based on the quantity of drugs
involved, and many of these offences are non-bailable. Non-bailable offences are those for
which bail is not granted as a matter of right, and the court has the discretion to deny bail
based on the circumstances of the case. These offences can attract severe penalties, including
imprisonment and fines. The courts often consider the gravity of the offence, the quantity of
drugs involved, the role of the accused in the supply chain, and the potential threat posed to
society when deciding on the grant of bail.
However, it must be noted that the specific circumstances of the case, the accused’s criminal
record, and other relevant factors are considered by the court when determining bail. The
court may exercise discretion based on the facts and merits of each individual case.
Participation in International Drug Control Treaties
India’s participation in international drug control treaties has been a key component of its
attempts to stop drug addiction and trafficking. India has actively participated in numerous
international agreements designed to reduce the manufacture, trafficking, and consumption of
illegal drugs as a responsible member of the world community. This article examines India’s
participation in these accords, its accomplishments, its difficulties, and its future prospects.
In an effort to regulate the manufacture and sale of narcotic chemicals, India joined the Single
Convention on Narcotic Drugs in 1961. The nation has made substantial efforts to conform
its domestic laws to the terms of the agreement. One of the biggest producers of licit opium
gum is India, where extensive legal cultivation is practised in some areas. Opium that is legal
is used for research and medical purposes and is governed by stringent international laws.
India joined the Convention on Psychotropic Substances in 1985 in an effort to combat the
spread of these drugs. To monitor and regulate the manufacture, sale, and consumption of
these chemicals, the nation has put in place regulatory frameworks.
The 1988 UN Convention to combat the expanding illicit drug traffic was ratified by India.
To reduce drug trafficking, the nation has worked to improve its border and law enforcement
The Impact of Drug Laws on Marginalised Communities
Wide-ranging effects of drug prohibitions and their enforcement frequently
disproportionately harm vulnerable communities. These disadvantaged groups bear the brunt
of strict drug laws due to socioeconomic inequality and restricted access to assistance.
Despite similar rates of drug usage across all demographics, statistics show that people from
marginalised communities are more likely to be arrested and found guilty for drug offences.
Drug convictions have serious repercussions, such as job loss, which make it more difficult
for those from disadvantaged backgrounds to break the cycle of poverty. These populations
were further isolated due to a lack of funding and legal representation, which restricted their
access to a fair trial and a strong defence.
The already unbalanced criminal justice system is made worse by the disproportionate
representation of marginalised communities in the prison system. the cost of operating
congested prisons. Taxpayers shoulder the cost of maintaining overcrowded prisons, diverting
money from vital social programmes that might address the underlying causes of drug usage.
Families are disrupted by drug-related arrests and incarcerations, which result in the
separation of parents and children. Over Policing and incarceration shatters the social
structure of marginalised groups, weakening trust in institutions and law enforcement.
The Connection Between Drug Trade and Organized Crime
Organised crime and the drug trade have been tightly interwoven for years, resulting in a
complicated and widespread global problem. Organised criminal organisations use the
lucrative black market for illicit drugs to finance their operations, exercise control, and
increase their power.
The illegal drug trade is a lucrative business that attracts organised crime groups looking for
financial advantage. A lucrative black market for illegal drugs is produced by the demand for
them and the constrained supply that results from drug restrictions.
For the purpose of smuggling narcotics over international borders and into regional markets,
organised criminal gangs create and oversee complex distribution networks.
Money-laundering operations are required due to the substantial proceeds from drug sales in
order to legalise unlawful To hold onto territory, remove rivals, and keep control of the drug
trade, organised crime uses intimidation and violence.
Human trafficking and drug trade networks frequently work together to take advantage of
helpless people for a variety of illicit purposes. Negative environmental effects of illicit drug
cultivation and manufacture include deforestation and pollution. gains and continues funding
criminal activity. The use of violence and intimidation by organised crime is used to seize
control of areas, and kill rivals.
Landmark judgements relating to NDPS ACT
State of Punjab v. Baldev Singh (1999) 6 SCC 172
The Hon’ble Supreme Court ruled in this instance that all offences committed under the
NDPS Act was cognizable and non-bailable as a result of Section 37 of the Act.
Additionally, the Court established stringent requirements for granting bail to anyone accused
of violating the NDPS Act.
Madan Lal and Ors. v. State of Himachal Pradesh (2003) 7 SCC 465
It was decided that once the NDPS Act restricted substance possession was established, it would
be assumed that the possession was intentional. The individual making the opposite
allegation would have to prove that it was an unconscious possession. The NDPS Act’s
Sections 35 and 54 provide this position legal recognition.
Toofan Singh v. State of Tamil Nadu (2013) 16 SCC 31
The Hon’ble Supreme Court noted in this instance that the personnel given authority under
Section 53 of the NDPS Act are “police officers” as defined under Section 25 of the Evidence
Act. Therefore, under the Evidence Act, any confession given to such police would be invalid.
Rhea Chakraborty v. The Union of India and Ors.
The Supreme Court quoted the judgement of State of Punjab v. Baldev Singh and held section
37 of the NDPS Act makes offences under this act cognizable and non-bailable.
The drug problem in India is far worse than it first seems. In ancient India, people used ganja,
charas, and other psychoactive substances as a digestive aid, a painkiller, and even as a sort of
psychotherapy. Even the laws that made drug possession and use criminal before to 1985 do
not exist in India. However, in order to battle the drug epidemic and to fulfil its obligations
under the three UN drug conventions and the country’s constitution, India passed the NDPS
Act in 1985, which imposed stricter guidelines and more severe punishments.Every
legislation has the intention of helping society, but if it is applied incorrectly, it may instead
have the opposite effect. The more stringent a law is, the more likely it is to become
oppressive. Since NDPS is such a strict rule, abusing it carries a significantly higher danger.
As a result, the courts must make sure that the law is not abused and that everyone in society