Delhi High Court to Hear Plea Seeking Decriminalization of Cannabis Usage

Delhi High Court to Hear Plea Seeking Decriminalization of Cannabis Usage

A PIL has been filed in the Delhi High Court challenging the prohibition and criminalization of the use of cannabis in India.

The petition filed by an NGO named 'Great Legalisation India Movement Trust' has challenged the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 and Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Rules, 1985, which prohibit and criminalize the use of cannabis or industrial hemp and prescribe restrictions on activities related to it.

The petitioner claims to be a registered trust which has been "at the forefront" of the movement to decriminalize the use of cannabis and raise awareness with respect to its medicinal, industrial, ecological, economic and other benefits.

In its petition filed through Advocates Avinash K Sharma and Ashutosh Nagar, the petitioner organisation has clarified that it is not seeking to completely de-regulate the use of the drug. However, any regulation should be consistent with the requirement of "reasonable restriction".

It is the petitioner's case that the treatment of cannabis at par with other harmful and lethal chemicals is arbitrary, unscientific and unreasonable.

The matter was listed before the division bench of Justices G.S Sistani and Jyoti Singh.

The counsel for the respondent Dev P Bhardwaj and Rahella Khan submitted that the requisite department was not impleaded in this matter, which is the Department of Revenue and Finance as the NDPS act is a product of Revenue and Finance Department.

The respondents also produced a judgement of the Bombay High Court whereby a similar PIL was dismissed on grounds stating that the courts were not experts on this matter and that this issue should be taken to the Parliament.

The matter is to be listed on 29th July. The petitioners have been directed to implead the requisite party.

In May Himachal Pradesh High Court ordered the government to take a decision regarding legalization of medicinal and industrial use of hemp.