Regulation of Precursors (Controlled Substances)
Precursors are chemicals which can also be used to manufacture narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. These substances also have a number of legitimate uses. Hence, these chemicals are regulated balancing the need for their legitimate trade with the need to prevent their diversion to illicit channels. The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, clause (viid) of section 2 ibid, empowers the Central Government to declare any substance as ‘controlled substance’ after considering its possible use in the production or manufacture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances. Earlier five substances (Acetic anhydride, N – Acetylanthranilic acid, Anthranilic acid, Ephedrine and its salts, Pseudoephedrine and its salts) were declared as ‘controlled substance’. Vide notification S.O. 834(E) dated 26.03.2012, twelve (12) more substances, and the preparations of Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine have been notified as ‘controlled substance’.
Power to control and regulate controlled substances is provided in Section 9A of the NDPS Act. Accordingly, vide notification G.S.R. 191(E) dated 26.03.2013, a revised Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Regulation of Controlled Substances) Order, 2013 has been notified by replacing the earlier Order of 1993. The Order dated 26.03.2013 has been further amended vide notification G.S.R. 649(E) dated 23.09.2013. Some of the salient features of the Order, as amended, are as under:
- All the controlled substances have been divided into three categories in three Schedules and are subject to varying degrees of control.
- Manufacture, distribution, sale, purchase, possession, storage, and consumption of a controlled substance included in Schedule-A (these are the five substances declared as ‘controlled substance’ prior to the notification of 26.03.2013) are subject to registration with the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).
- Government or autonomous institutions, Schools or Colleges or Universities recognized by the Government, registered Scientific Societies and Hospitals using any controlled substance in Schedule-A for educational, scientific and analytical purposes have been exempted from such registration.
- No fee is payable for registration.
- Application for registration and issue of registration are required to be in the Forms attached to the Order.
- Registration number to be issued within 30 days of receipt of application; otherwise reason to be informed to the applicant.
- Provision for destruction of controlled substance on receipt of such request.
- ‘No Objection Certificate (NOC)’ from Narcotics Commissioner prior to export / import of substances in Schedule B / C.
- No fee for obtaining NOC for export / import.
- NOC to be given in 21 days otherwise reasons to be communicated.
- Preparations of Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine have been placed in Schedule B / C only. Thus monitoring of their international trade only is envisaged in the Order.