The legislature was wise enough to provide different punishments for possessing small or commercial quantity of drugs, the court said.
The Delhi High Court has observed that the 2001 amendment to the Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, has adopted a reformative approach towards addicts.
The court observed that the said amendment is a beneficial legislation which provides for lesser punishment in case of drug addicts found with lesser quantity of prohibited substance as compared to drug traffickers, who are found having commercial quantity of contraband, which attracts harsh punishment and hefty fines.
Justice PS Teji made this observation while disposing of an appeal against a conviction under Section 20 of the Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, wherein the appellant was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of 10 years and to pay a fine of Rs.1 lakh. Referring to these beneficial provisions, introduced vide 2001 amendment, the court has reduced the sentence awarded to the appellant to nine years with fine of Rs.90, 000.
Referring to a Rajasthan High Court judgment, the court said: “By way of amended Act of 2001, scale of sentencing and fine was reduced depending upon the substance and quantity found. It basically provides for determining the amount of drugs involved in an offence while sentencing an accused. It also provides for deterrent punishment for the drug traffickers while a reformative approach towards addicts has been adopted. Therefore, three different quantity of drugs have been involved i.e. small, commercial or intermediate while sentencing. The legislature was wise enough to provide different punishments for possessing small or commercial quantity of drugs.”
Read the Judgment here.