Updated: September 9, 2020 9:20:30 am
Over 97 per cent of drug-related cases decided by Mumbai courts in 2017 and 2018 involved possession for personal consumption, according to a study by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy. Actor Rhea Chakraborty, arrested by Narcotics Control Bureau in Mumbai on Tuesday, faces similar charges.
The study found that consumption of cannabis accounted for 87 per cent of all arrests and convictions in drug consumption cases in Mumbai.
Out of 12,945 cases In 2017, 97.7 per cent cases decided involved personal consumption of drugs; 298 dealt with trafficking of drugs, a more serious offence. In 2018, 97.3 per cent of 9,743 cases involved personal consumption, and 263 were of trafficking. Since 2014, Maharashtra has had the most number of cases under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985. Mumbai accounts for 90 per cent of all arrests and convictions in drug-related cases recorded in Maharashtra. The city also has the highest convictions in the country under NDPS Act.
The study found that in 2013-14, conviction rate for cases involving personal consumption increased over five times compared to the previous year. The same year, conviction in trafficking-related cases remained constant.
The law is relatively lenient on charges of possession and consumption for personal use compared to trafficking. While cases involving “small quantities” for personal use carry a sentence of six months to a year in jail, trafficking is penalised heavily. A 2014 amendment brought in stringent provisions to forfeit property of those charged with heavy trafficking and introduced the death penalty for a second conviction.
Section 39 of NDPS Act allows courts to release an addict for treatment if found guilty of possession of consumption of drugs.
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