CM Sukhu advocates life terms and NDPS act changes for drug crimes


Himachal Pradesh’s Chief Minister, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, has proposed life imprisonment for drug peddlers and several other amendments to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in a bid to intensify the fight against drug trafficking.During a virtual regional conference titled ‘Drug Smuggling and National Security,’ chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday, the Chief Minister advocated for stronger state powers under the NDPS Act. He proposed that the existing five-year punishment for drug-related offences be extended to life imprisonment and argued that such crimes should be non-bailable, irrespective of the quantity involved. The smuggling of psychotropic substances and synthetic drugs, specifically ‘chitta’ (adulterated heroin), in intermediate quantities poses significant challenges for state police. Such offences, which account for approximately 95% of cases, are currently bailable under the NDPS Act. The CM also highlighted the importance of addressing drug overdose-related fatalities and suggested necessary adjustments to the Act to tackle this issue. Chief Minister Sukhu urged the Union Government to empower states with confiscation rights, incorporate a provision for a INR 5 lakh fine, and allow property seizures. He requested the establishment of a Narcotics Control Bureau zonal office, a modern high-tech prison in Kullu district, and a modern forensic laboratory accompanied by a mobile lab to expedite case investigations. Additionally, the CM appealed for more generous financial support from the Central Government to maintain drug de-addiction centres in Himachal Pradesh. He remarked that the state is among the few in India employing preventive detention measures and has constituted an Advisory Board to combat drug issues effectively.