The major drug laws of India are the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (1985)

and the Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act

(1988).

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Bill, 1985 was introduced in the Lok Sabha

on 23 August 1985. It was passed by both the Houses of Parliament and it was assented by the

President on 16 September 1985. It came into force on 14 November 1985 as THE NARCOTIC

DRUGS AND PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES ACT, 1985 (shortened to NDPS Act). Under

the NDPS Act, it is illegal for a person to produce/manufacture/cultivate, possess, sell,

purchase, transport, store, and/or consume any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.

Under one of the provisions of the act, the Narcotics Control Bureau was set up with effect from

March 1986. The Act is designed to fulfill India’s treaty obligations under the Single Convention

on Narcotic Drugs, Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and United Nations Convention

Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. The Act has been

amended three times – in 1988, 2001, and most recently in 2014.

The 2014 Amendment recognizes the need for pain relief as an important obligation of the

government. It creates a class of medicines called Essential Narcotic Drugs (ENDs). Power for

legislation on ENDs has been shifted from the state governments to the central governments so

that the whole country now can have a uniform law covering these medicines which are needed

for pain relief.

Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act

The Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act is a drug

control law passed in 1988 by the Parliament of India. It was established to enable the full

implementation and enforcement of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of

1985.

Narcotics Control Bureau

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is the chief law enforcement and intelligence agency of

India responsible for fighting drug trafficking and the abuse of illegal substances. It was created

on 17 March 1986 to enable the full implementation of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic

Substances Act (1985) and fight its violation through the Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (1988).

Punishment

Anyone who contravenes the NDPS Act will face punishment based on the quantity of the

banned substance.

 

  1. where the contravention involves small quantity(<1 kg), with rigorous imprisonment for a

term which may extend to 6 months, or with fine which may extend to ₹10,000 or with

both;

  1. where the contravention involves quantity lesser than commercial quantity but greater

than small quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years

and with fine which may extend to ₹1 lakh;

  1. where the contravention involves commercial quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a

term which shall not be less than 10 years but which may extend to 20 years and shall

also be liable to fine which shall not be less than ₹1 lakh but which may extend to ₹2

lakh.