Rhea Chakraborty Arrested Under NDPS Act Which Faces Challenge in Court | India News

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Rhea Chakraborty Arrested Under NDPS Act Which in Facing Challenge at Court

G Plus News | September 09, 2020 14:04 hrs

The incident of Bollywood actor, Rhea Chakraborty, being arrested under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act on alleged charges of possession of cannabis, has once again brought to the fore the debate to decriminalize the use and cultivation cannabis. But this provision of the Act itself is facing challenge in the Indian court.

A case in connection with decriminalization had already been heard at the Delhi High Court on November 5, 2019 by an advocacy group, Great Legalisation Movement, which has challenged the provision of NDPS Act which criminalises the cultivation and possession of cannabis. 

The plea has highlighted that the prohibition on cannabis in India took place in 1985 after the passing of the NDPS Act.

“The treatment of cannabis at par with other harmful and lethal chemicals is arbitrary, unscientific, unreasonable and hence unconstitutional,” the petition filed through advocate Avinash Kumar Sharma said.

Notably, the Delhi High Court last November issued a notice to the Centre on a petition challenging various sections of the NDPS Act that criminalise the cultivation, possession and use of cannabis. 

It argued that various scientific research papers published by the World Health Organization and the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission (IHDC) (1894) establish its medicinal benefits.

Even Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali group wants legalization of Cannabis in India.

G Plus took a look at the NDPS Act which was enacted by Indian Parliament in 1985 and if proven guilty the quantum of punishment that Rhea Chakraborty may expect.

The Act was enacted to deter drug trafficking, forbid and criminalise cultivation, production, sale, purchase, possession, use, consumption, import and export of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Rhea Chakraborty has been booked under Sections 21, 22, 27A, 28 and 29 of the NDPS Act.

Section 21: This section punishes a person who possesses, sells, purchases, transports or imports manufactured drugs. The definition of ‘manufactured drugs’ has been listed separately as ‘all coca derivatives, medicinal cannabis, opium derivatives and poppy straw concentrate.’ 

Punishment varies based on quantity seized - from small quantities which could attract a penalty of Rigorous Imprisonment (RI) for up to 6 months and fine which may extend to Rs 10,000, to seizure of large quantities which could attract a penalty of 10 years RI and fine up to Rs 2 lakhs.

Section 22: This section punishes possession, sale, purchase, transport or import of psychotropic substances. Quantum of punishments in this section is the same as those in section 21.

Section 27A: This section imposes punishment for the consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance like cocaine or morphine. It carries similar penalties.

Section 28 and 29: These sections deal with attempting to commit offences and for abetment and criminal conspiracy. 

Assam Ganja and Bhang Prohibition Act of 1958

Cannabis is used in India in the form of `Bhang’ (cannabis leaves in smoke form are known in Assam) for various religious and traditional purposes.

The famous annual Ambubachi Mela in the Kamakhya temple brings with it the footfall as well as bhang use by Sadhus; this by itself is one the major attractions of the annual religious event.

Bhang is consumed by thousands of sadhus and sanyasis who have arrive for the annual event from all over the country despite laws banning such consumption.

While bhang, made of cannabis leaves, is not a banned item under the national Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, the Assam Ganja and Bhang Prohibition Act of 1958 bans sale, purchase, possession and consumption of bhang in any form. This Act of the state also has a provision of two years’ imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1,000.

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