Greeva Garg –
The Rajasthan High Court has sought the Centre’s response upon the suo moto case registered this year under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
The Jodhpur Bench seeks an explanation for the rationale behind its notification dated 19th October 2001 for not specifying small or commercial quantity for the cultivation of Papaver Somniferum commonly known as Opium Poppy under the NDPS Act.
The High Court issued notice to the Union of India, through the Ministry of Finance, the Department of Revenue and also to the State of Rajasthan.
A Vacation Bench headed by Justice Dinesh Mehta stated that, “The Court would examine expediency, legality or proprietary of the 3rd note in the notification dated 19.10.2001. The court may further issue appropriate direction(s) to the Central Government (if deemed necessary) to prescribe small quantities so as to bring the notification in consonance and harmony with the provisions and scheme of the Act.”
According to Note 3 of the notification, it has been provided that ‘Small Quantity’ and ‘Commercial Quantity’ with respect to the cultivation of opium poppy is not specified separately as the offence in this regard is covered under clause (c) of Section 18 of the NDPS Act.
The Court observed that, “Note No.3 in the notification dated 19.10.2001 is, thus, prima facie incongruous and contrary to the provisions of section 18 of the Act of 1985, because the Parliament has held even the cultivation of opium poppy an equally serious offence as its manufacture, processing, production, sale and purchase etc. by the Legislature.”