Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985

Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985

It is a special enactment that deals with the prevention, control, regulation of operations relating to Narcotic Drug and psychotropic substances and is adopted by the Parliament to implement the International Conventions on Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic substances.


The Act

  • The applicability of this legislation is not only restricted to the geographical boundaries of our country but can also be made applicable to the citizens outside Indian Territory as well as all the persons who are on ships and aircrafts registered in India (Section- 1).


  • The Narcotic Commissioner has been given the power to regulate cultivation of opium poppy and its production (Section- 5).


  • National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse– The Central Government may receive grants from any person or institution, from the parliament, from the sale of the property attached to fulfil the purpose of this Act (Section- 7A).


  • A person is prohibited under Section- 8 to cultivate any coca plant or cultivate opium poppy/ cannabis plant or produce, manufacture, possess, sell, purchase, transport, warehouse, use, consume, import inter-State, export inter-State, import into India, export from India or tranship any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance except for medical or scientific purposes.


  • The Central Government is authorised to permit, control and regulate the cultivation and other related activities of coca plant, opium poppy, poppy straw and other drugs (Section- 9); and similarly the State Government is also authorised to indulge in these activities but subject to Section- 8 (Section- 10).


  • Chapter- IV of the Act enshrines the offences and punishment w.r.t the drugs. Section- 15 deals with poppy straw, Section 16- coca plant and leaves, Section 17- prepared opium, Section 18- opium poppy and opium, Section 20- Cannabis and its plant, Section 21- manufactured drugs and its preparation, Section 22- psychotropic substances, Section 23- Illegal Import into India, export from India or transhipment. All these afore- mentioned sections lays down-


  1. Imprisonment for a term which may extent to 1 year/ fine which may extend to Rs 1000- Small Quantity.
  2. Term which may extend to 10 years and fine which may extend to 1 lakh rupees- Greater than small quantity but lesser than commercial quantity.
  3. Term which shall not be less than 10 years but which may extend to 20 years and fine which shall not be less than 1 lakh rupees but which may extend to 2 lakh rupees (fine can be extended)- Commercial Quantity


  • Punishment same as that of the offence for allowing premises (Owner or occupier) to be used for commission of the offence (Section- 25).


  • Section 27- Punishment for consumption cocaine, morphine, diacetylmorphine or any other narcotic drug of psychotropic substance (for personal use)- R.I. for a term which may extend to 1 year or fine which may extend to Rs 20,000 or both. Where the consumed substance is other than that mentioned in the first line then- S.I. for a term which may extend to 6 months or fine which may extend to Rs 10,000 or both.


  • Attempt to commit an offence is also an offence, punishment same as that of the commission of that offence (Section- 28).


  • Abetment and Criminal Conspiracy– Offence under NDPS (whether committed or not) – Punishment: same as that of offence (Section- 29).


  • If a person makes a preparation to commit an offence under this Act then he shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment term which shall not be less than one half of the minimum sentence of that offence and which may extend to one half of the maximum sentence and fine in the same manner (Section- 30).


  • A person who has been previously convicted for commission of an offence or criminal conspiracy or attempt or abetment and is subsequently convicted for an offence or its abetment or attempt or criminal conspiracy under this Act, then such person shall be punished with R.I. for a term which may extend to one and a half times of the maximum term of imprisonment plus fine in the same manner (Section- 31)- Subsequent Punishment shall be consequent to the previous one unless appropriate case demands concurrent application.


  • Section- 31 lists offence under Section- 19, 24 and 27A to be eligible for death penalty in case of commercial quantity.


  • Subject to Section- 33 and offences other than Section- 27, cannot be remitted or suspended or commuted under CRPC (Section- 32A)


  • Section 360 of CRPC and Probation of Offenders Act 1958 shall not be applicable unless the person is under the age of 18 years or has been convicted of offence under Section 26 or 27 (Section- 33).


  • It shall be presumed under this Act that a person has a culpable mental state to be involved in an offence (Section- 35).


  • In the Special Courts constituted under this Act, the Trial shall take place; such Special Courts shall be the Courts of Session. Jurisdiction- Offences with punishment more than 3 years (Section- 36). Under Section- 167 CRPC, the Magistrates of First Class or any Magistrate shall have the same power w.r.t these offences as they have in general offences and shall extend the period of police custody for 15 days (in case of E.M.- 7 days)- in respect of offences u/s- 19 or 24 or 27A w.r.t the commercial quantity the period of 90 days shall be construed as referring to period of 180 days (which may extend to 1 year on the report of P.P.)- Section- 439 CRPC shall have applicability (Section- 36A).


  • Section 36B- Appeal and Revision to High Court, Section 37– Cognizable and Non Bailable Offence.


  • The Court is empowered to release offenders on probation of section- 27 or w.r.t small quantities of NDPS (Section- 39).


  • Chapter- V of the Act (Section- 41 to 68) deals with the procedure pertaining to search, seizure, arrest of the person with or without warrant and the Act authorises under Section 42 certain officers such Central Excise Officers, Narcotics Bureau, Revenue Intelligence or para military or any other department of C.G. to do these acts- Procedure of CRPC shall apply (Section 51) – Statements made during investigation is relevant (Section 53A).
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