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Verdict on NDPS Act welcome: Petitioner

Eldered Tellis is a happy man. Reacting to the Bombay High Court judgment doing away with the mandatory death sentence for repeat offenders under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act,1985,Tellis said he is “satisfied with the judgment and will not pursue the matter any further.”

Eldered Tellis is a happy man. Reacting to the Bombay High Court judgment doing away with the mandatory death sentence for repeat offenders under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act,1985,Tellis said he is “satisfied with the judgment and will not pursue the matter any further.” Tellis is an office-bearer of the Indian Harm Reduction Network (IHRN),a consortium of NGOs that was one of the petitioners. He is also director of Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust,a city-based organisation that works with victims of drug abuse and also spreads awareness about HIV-AIDS and its prevention.

“This is precisely what we were asking for. We were never demanding that the death penalty be completely scrapped for those convicted under the Act. All we were demanding was that the judge hearing the case should have the discretion to decide whether the capital punishment is really warranted for the particular person involved or not. Each case should be decided on an individual basis. The High Court has echoed this sentiment,” said Tellis after the verdict.

The activist pointed out that the earlier provision which made the death sentence mandatory for second time offenders violated the fundamental right to life as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution. “When it comes to the NDPS Act,what often happens is that the small fish get caught,while the big players manage to get away and evade the law because of their clout,monetary or otherwise. On the other hand,I have even seen people who have merely been sitting alongside drug users being rounded up by the police and charged under the Act. The NDPS Act should not be misused and a distinction must be made between relatively minor offenders and the ones involved in more serious crimes,” said Tellis.

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First published on: 20-06-2011 at 01:29:04 am
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