Personal consumption of drug or psychotropic substance in India

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985

Narcotic drug means coca leaf, cannabis (hemp), opium, poppy straw and includes all manufactured goods;

Psychotropic substance means any substance, natural or synthetic, or any natural material or any salt or preparation of such substance or material included in the list of psychotropic substances specified in the Schedule;

Small quantity in relation to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, means any quantity lesser than the quantity specified by the Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette.

27- Punishment for consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance—

Whoever consumes any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance shall be punishable,–

(a) where the narcotic drug or psychotropic substance consumed is cocaine, morphine, diacetylmorphine or any other narcotic drug or any psychotropic substance as may be specified in this behalf by the Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to twenty thousand rupees; or with both; and

(b) where the narcotic drug or psychotropic substance consumed is other than those specified in or under clause (a), with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with both.

28- Punishment for attempts to commit offences—

Whoever attempts to commit any offence punishable under this Chapter or to cause such offence to be committed and in such attempt does any act towards the commission of the offence shall be punishable with the punishment provided for the offence.

Burden of Proof

Where a person is shown to have been in possession of small quantity of a narcotic drug or psychotropic substance, the burden of proving that it was intended for the personal Consumption of such person and not for sale or distribution, shall lie on such person.”

In a case, the narcotic drug was recovered from the accused in the form of two cigarettes and the Court drew presumption that the drug in his possession may have been for his personal Consumption. The Court also relied on an earlier decision of this Court in Gaunter Edwin Kircher vs. State of Goa, Secretariat Panaji JT 1993 (2) SC 285. In that case the accused was having the narcotic substance in a pouch along with a chillum (smoking pipe) and smoking material and the averments extracted from the accused in the application by the trial Court showed that it was meant for his personal Consumption.

In another case, the accused was keeping in his possession the narcotic drug for his personal Consumption, whereas the evidence shows that narcotic substance was kept in six small packets and he was found in a street which obviously showed that he was waiting for his customers- the accused would not get the benefit of sec 27.

What section 27 is all about

  1. One can consume as much quantity as one can.
  2. How many times of consumption, the punishment is the same.
  3. Group consumption- not mentioned
  4. Reserving of the drug for personal consumption- not mentioned
  5. Second offence- not mentioned
  6. manner of consumption- not mentioned
  7. Law of limitation for taking cognisance- not mentioned

Opium is essentially derived from the opium poppy plant. The opium poppy gives out a juice which is opium. The secreted juice contains several alkaloid substances like morphine, codeine, thebaine etc. Morphine is the primary alkaloid in opium. It is one of the derivatives of the Opium.

The guilty can ask for probation.