Parliament proceedings | Bill to correct drafting error in NDPS Act introduced in Lok Sabha

MPs raise concern about retrospective effect

Updated - December 06, 2021 06:10 pm IST

Published - December 06, 2021 03:59 pm IST - New Delhi

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla conducts proceedings in the House, during the Winter Session of Parliament in New Delhi

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla conducts proceedings in the House, during the Winter Session of Parliament in New Delhi

A Bill to replace an ordinance amending the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday, with some MPs opposing it on technical grounds.

The NDPS (Amendment) Bill, 2021 would replace an ordinance promulgated in September to correct a drafting error in a 2014 amendment to the Act. Before the 2014 amendment, clause (viii-a) of Section 2 contained sub-clauses (i) to (v), which defined the term “illicit traffic”, according to the statement of objects and reasons by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

“This clause was re-lettered as clause (viii-b) by the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Act, 2014, as a new clause (viii-a) in section 2 defining ‘essential narcotic drugs’ was inserted. However, inadvertently consequential change was not carried out in Section 27A of the NDPS Act… In a recent judgment, Hon’ble High Court of Tripura...has held that ‘until the appropriate legislative change occurs by amending Section 27A of the NDPS Act appropriately, sub-clauses (i) to (v) of clause (viii-a) of Section 2 of the NDPS Act shall suffer effect of deletion,” the statement read.

‘Bad in law’

Objecting to the Bill coming into effect from May 1, 2014, Revolutionary Socialist Party MP N.K. Premachandran said the retrospective effect would violate the Constitution and that he “challenged the legislative competence of the Bill”. Biju Janata Dal MP Bhartruhari Mahtab asked the Government to re-draft the Bill. “Giving retrospective effect to a penal provision is bad in law and what is bad in law, is no law,” he said.

However, Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat Karad said the issues raised by the members would be addressed during the discussion on the Bill, after which it was introduced.

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