A Delhi High Court bench headed by Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued a notice to Centre on a plea challenging the expansion of the definition of a drug under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. The bench has asked the Union government to file its response by February 28.
Petitioner Rajeev T M, a resident of Kerala had filed a petition before the court challenging the two notifications of 2001 and 2009 issued by the Ministry of Finance under the NDPS Act, saying the notifications were issued in excess of conferred authority and are ultra views to the law. He submitted that the two notifications under Section 2 (viia) and 2 (xxiiia) of the NDPS Act, have the effect of creating a new category of offence by penalising the preparation of a drug at pat with the drug itself.
According to him the notifications seek to create a classifications of drug users and quantities based on the total weight of the drug (including weight of neutral material) and not on the weight of the pure drug content which should have been the correct indicator of whether a quantity is a commercial quantity or a small quantity intended for personal consumption.
There is a violation of Article 14 (equality before law) of the Constitution as there is no rational nexus between the classification created by these notifications. The plea stated if the notifications are applied, 4 grams of heroin would be a small quantity, but if an addict mixes them with the 50 kgs of powdered sugar then the same would be commercial quantity which will lead to the punishment of 20 years.
“The application of the notifications creates a situation where there would be no rational nexus between the aforesaid objective of rationalising sentencing by taking a reformative approach towards treating addicts and the proposed classification which places both addicts and drug traffickers on even footing as long as the addict dilutes their drug more than the trafficker.”
The plea said that the NDPS Act requires only the pure narcotic drugs/ Psychotropic Substances to be considered for determining quantities therefore, the notifications are wrong.
The act of adding the weight of a neutral substance to the weight of pure drug content for determining the weight of small quantity or commercial quantity is unreasonable and arbitrary and violates Article 14 of the Constitution.