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Possibility of Constitutional Incongruity under Article. 20.: Tripura HC directs Centre to amend S.27A of NDPS Act without delay. [READ JUDGMENT]

By Athira Nair      14 June, 2021 05:36 PM      0 Comments
 Possibility of Constitutional Incongruity under Article. 20.: Tripura HC directs Centre to amend S.27A of NDPS Act without delay. [READ JUDGMENT]

The Tripura HC has directed the Central Government, Ministry of Home Affair to take the necessary steps for amending sec.27A of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1985, without any delay.

Since there were no amendments for the sec.2(viiib)(i-v) under sec.27A of the aforementioned Act, a division bench comprising of Justice S Talapatra and Justice SG Chattopadhyay observed the following:

We would hold that until the appropriate legislative change occurs by amending Section 27A of the NDPS Act appropriately, sub-clauses (i) to (v) of clause (viiia) of Section-2 of the NDPS Act shall suffer effect of deletion and bringing in sub-clauses i-v of the clause viii-b of Section-2 of the NDPS Act in that place. We are worried this effect might create an incongruity to the constitutional protection provided under Article-20.

According to the sec.27A of the Act, the punishment for financing illicit traffic and harbouring offenders is provided. It states,

Whoever indulges in financing, directly or indirectly, any of the activities specified in sub-clauses (i) to (v) of clause (viiia) of section 2 or harbours any person engaged in any of the aforementioned activities, shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than ten years and shall also be liable to a fine which will up to one lakh rupees. Provided, the Court may, for reasons to be recorded in the judgement, impose a fine exceeding two lakh rupees. 

Section 2 of the provision was amended and was placed under the clause (viiib) which came into order from 1st of March. According to the re-lettered provision, the meaning of illicit traffic in relation to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances has been explained, hence providing us with a list of illicit activities.

The court countered that there was no amendment in the Section 27A, the activities remained to be under Section 2 (viiia)(i-v). Therefore, Section 27A had become an inoperable provision by losing its definiteness.

Analyzing the submission made by the party, the Court further observed:

We have adopted this approach after reading the entire statute. We have only given effect of deletion and conjunction. At the same time, we are constrained to observe that Central Government has failed to introduce the Amendment Act for amending NDPS Act. In such  circumstances we are persuaded to direct the Central Government in the Ministry of Home Affairs to take appropriate steps for amendment as required in Section 27A without further adue.



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