Narcotics angle in Sushant Singh Rajput death case /WHAT IS NDPS ACT?

Sushant Singh Rajput was found dead at his Bandra flat on sunday June 14, 2020. Narcotics Control Bureau arrested Rhea Chakraborty under various sections of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. After three days of interrogation she was charged under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. Rhea and her brother Showik Chakrabor‍ty, who are in NCB's custody for interrogation in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, have revealed the names of top 25 Bollywood celebrities in the drug nexus. Rhea has named Bollywood biggies, including actors, producers and directors for their alleged involvement in the drug cartel. Based on the recorded statements of Rhea, the NCB is expected to send summons to these Bollywood bigwigs.After arresting Rhea Chakraborty, Showik Chakraborty, and four others in connection with the drug angle that has emerged in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) conducted raids in Mumbai and Goa.

Narcotics angle in Sushant Singh Rajput death case /WHAT IS NDPS ACT?
Narcotics angle in Sushant Singh Rajput death case /WHAT IS NDPS ACT?

The sensational drugs conspiracy in the death case of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput has not only shocked the nation but also names of other stars like girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty and co-star Sara Ali Khan has added a twist to the case. 

Reportedly, the drug angle is being probed and therefore a few days back, NCB had recovered hookahs, ashtrays and medicines while conducting a raid at late star Sushant Singh Rajput's Pavana Lake farmhouse. 

It has also been learnt that apart from Sushant and his friends, many other top Bollywood celebs partied at the same farmhouse. 

The Narcotics Control Bureau on Wednesday issued summons to some of the big actresses Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, Shraddha Kapoor and Rakul Preet Singh in a drug case related to the death of Sushant Singh Rajput.

WHAT IS NDPS ACT UNDER WHICH RHEA CHAKROBORTY HAS BEEN BOOKED?

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, commonly referred to as the NDPS Act was came into force on 14th November 1985. The NDPS act has been amended three times in 1988, 2001 and 2014. The NDPS act prohibits any individual who is engaged in any activity like producing, cultivating, selling, purchasing, transporting, storing, and consuming any narcotic drug or psychotropic substances which are mentioned in the act.

What is the Narcotics Control Bureau?

The Narcotics Control Bureau is an Indian federal law enforcement and intelligence agency under the Ministry of Home Affairs. The agency is tasked with combating drug trafficking and the use of illegal substances under the provisions of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. The headquarters of the Narcotics Control Bureau's is located in Delhi.
The main purpose of the Narcotics Control Bureau is to fight drug trafficking on an all-India level. It works in close cooperation with the Customs and Central Excise/GST, State Police Department, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB) and other Indian intelligence and law enforcement agencies both at the national and states level. The NCB also provides resources and training to the personnel of India's Drug Law Enforcement Agencies in fighting drug trafficking. The NCB also monitors India's frontiers to track down points where smuggling activities take place with foreign traffickers. 

UNDER WHAT SECTIONS RHEA CHAKRABORTY HAS BEEN BOOKED AND WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT

Rhea Chakraborty has been booked under Sections 21, 22, 27A, 28 and 29 of the NDPS Act.

Section 21: This section punishes possession, sale, 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 lakh.

Section 22: This section punishes possession, sale, purchase, transport or import of psychotropic substances. Quantum of punishments in this section are 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 the offences of attempting to commit offences, and for abetment and criminal conspiracy.


PUNISHMENTS based on the quantity of banned substance:-


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

- where the contravention involves a small quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to 1 year, or with a fine which may extend to ₹10,000 (US$140) or both;

- where the contravention involves a quantity lesser than commercial quantity but greater than a small quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years and with fine which may extend to ₹1 lakh (US$1,400);

- where the contravention involves a commercial quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 10 years but which may extend to 20 years and also a fine which shall not be less than ₹1 lakh (US$1,400) but which may extend to ₹2 lakh (US$2,800).

The table below lists the current definition of a small quantity and a commercial quantity for some popular drugs.

Criticism of the NDPS Act, 1985 :-

During the discussion of the Bill in Parliament, several members opposed it for treating hard drug and soft drugs as the same. The Rajiv Gandhi administration claimed that soft drugs were gateway drugs.
   
The NDPS Act was criticized in The Times of India. The paper described the law as "ill-conceived" and "poorly thought-out" due to the law providing the same punishment for all drugs, which meant that dealers shifted their focus to harder drugs, where profits are far higher. The paper also argued that the Act had "actually created a drugs problem where there was none." The Times of India recommended that some of the softer drugs should be legalized, as this might reduce the level of heroin addiction.

In 2015, Lok Sabha MP Tathagata Satpathy criticized the ban on cannabis as "elitist", and labeling cannabis the "intoxicant" of the poor. He also felt that the ban was "an overreaction to a scare created by the United States". 

On 2 November 2015, Lok Sabha MP Dharamvir Gandhi announced that he had received clearance from Parliament to table a Private Member's Bill seeking to amend the NDPS Act to allow for the legalised, regulated, and medically supervised supply of "non-synthetic" intoxicants including cannabis and opium.