A drafting error correction bill for the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act which detailed provisions for punishment of criminals financing illicit trafficking of banned drugs, was introduced in the Lok Sabha.
The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Bill for amendment 2021, which plans to replace an ordinance in the original bill that was formed on September 30, this year was introduced by the minister of Finance Bhagwat Karad.
RSP member NK Premachandran has advised to properly observe the draft legislation of the amendment bill, which if not done with care could lead to a “bad law” forming; hence he opposed the bill to be introduced in the Lok Sabha.
Premchandran also reminded the house that the Tripura High Court had asked the Centre to amend the law when a criminal accused of drug trafficking moved a special court in Tripura, contending it to be a non-chargeable offense as section 27A was referred to as a blank list.
BJD member Bhratruhari Mahtab and RSP member Premchandran warned the central government on making any amendments to any criminal law, which was applicable with retrospective effect from 2014.
The situation was created when the NDPS was amended earlier in 2014, removing state barriers of transport and licensing of “essential narcotic drugs,” which were done to allow better medical access when needed urgently.
Earlier to the 2014 amendment, “illicit traffic” of narcotic substances had been defined by sub-clauses (i) to (v) of the main clause (viiia) of section 2 of the NDPS Act.
The amendment done was that this clause was re-lettered (viiib) by the NDPS amendment act 2014, and in its place, a new clause (viiia) in Section 2, which defined “essential narcotic drugs,” was introduced, but consequential changes were not carried out in the NDPS Act as stated by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the bill.
Minster Nirmala Sitharamn further added that the amendment done did not create any new offense but contained a declaration by legislation referring to clause (viiia) as a corresponding re-numbered provision of clause (viiib).
She added that the present amendment plans to rectify this anomaly done by changing Section 27A in order to carry out the legislative intent of the statute, which has been read as clause (viiib) and is already present in the act.
Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat Karad introduced the bill and assured members that all their issues would be addressed in the debate following the introduction of the bill in the Lok Sabha.