Section 68 of The Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (India) is a crucial provision that lays down the scope of punishment for possession of illegal drugs or psychotropic substances by Non Resident Indians (NRI) in India. It provides a comprehensive framework to deal with drug-related offenses and emphasizes the severity of punishment for such crimes.
The provision states that any NRI found in possession of illegal drugs or psychotropic substances will be punished under the provisions of this act. This means that if an NRI is caught with banned narcotics, he/she can face imprisonment up to 10 years along with stringent fines.
Additionally, Section 37(1)(b) also defines extraterritorial jurisdiction which implies that if any NRI who commits an offense outside India that falls under Section 15, Section 16, Section 17 or Section18 then he/she will be liable for punishment according to Indian law even when they are present outside Indian territory at the time they commit such offenses.
This provision has been enforced rigorously over time as displayed through various case laws. In State vs Satish Pandey (AIR1987 SC1109), it was held that mere personal use quantities could be treated as commercial quantity leading to stringent consequences as per section NDPS Act-1985. Similarly in Dilip v/s The State Of Madhya Pradesh AIR2000SC1473 court held that an accused in whose house narcotic substance were recovered but not shown how much consumed himself still liable under NDPS Act. Additionally, it was observed by Justice MN Venkatachaliah regarding Baldev Singh vs State (1994 Cr LJ3938 Apex Court): “When there is presumption under Sections50 read with S153 A against the person having exclusive dominion over contraband articles reasonably leading to inference beyond reasonable doubt against him regarding conscious possession thereof known quality.”
It must be noted here that the NDPS Act is a special act with stringent provisions for drug-related offenses. It has been enacted to combat drug abuse and trafficking and to protect society from the harmful effects of such substances. Therefore, if an NRI is found guilty under this provision, he/she will face severe consequences which may lead in not only imprisonment but also affect respective visa procedures.
In conclusion, Section 68 of The Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (India) highlights that possession of illegal drugs or psychotropic substances by Non Resident Indians (NRI) will not be tolerated in India. Furthermore, it enforces extraterritorial jurisdiction where any offense committed outside India falls within Indian law when they are present outside Indian territory at the time they commit such offenses under sections 15-18. Therefore, NRIs should always avoid indulging in any activity involving banned narcotics as it could lead to harsh punishment along with affecting their future prospects in numerous ways including their ability to travel abroad usefully.