Author: Ritik Dhankhar, Student at Army Institute of Law, Mohali.
ABOUT NARCOTICS CONTROL BUREAU
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) was constituted in 1986 on 17th March to enforce the new Narcotics Law known as the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 which was passed by the Parliament in 1985. The power to form the Narcotics Control Bureau by the Central Government is vested under Section 4(3) of the Act which bestows an authority for taking measures with respect to the appropriate matters under this Act and is subject to the supervision and control of the Central Government. Before the formation of NCB, India was also a signatory to a Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961, Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971, and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988.
COMPOSITION OF NARCOTICS CONTROL BUREAU
Section 5 of the NDPS Act,1985 gives the powers to the Central Government to appoint necessary officers and a Narcotics Commissioner as it thinks fit for the purposes of the Act. The Narcotics Commissioner and his subordinates can exercise all powers and duties impartially vested in them by this Act with general control and direction of the Central Government. Currently the Director General of NCB is Rakesh Asthana who is also the Director General of Border Security Force. The Deputy Director Generals of NCB are B. Radhika, Mutha Ashok Jain, Sachin Jain. The Headquarters of NCB is in New Delhi with Zones located at Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Indore, Jammu, Jodhpur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Patna. Sub-zones are located at Ajmer, Amritsar, Bhubaneswar, Dehradun, Goa, Hyderabad, Imphal, Mandsaur, Madurai, Mandi, Raipur, Ranchi and Thiruvananthapuram.
ROLE AND POWERS OF NARCOTICS CONTROL BUREAU
Section 4 of the NDPS Act, 1985 lays down that NCB, subject to the guidance and control of the Central Government, is to exercise the powers and functions of the Central Government for taking measures with respect to:
- Preventing Abuse of Narcotics: It is the duty of NCB to take all measures that it deems necessary or expedient for the purpose of preventing and combating abuse of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and their illicit trafficking.
- Coordination with Domestic Authorities: It is also the duty of NCB officials to have coordination with other Central as well as State enforcement authorities in relations to prevent the trafficking of illicit drug trafficking and psychotropic substances.
- Obligation under the International Convention: It is the duty of NCB to follow the appropriate codes of ethics and guidelines of various International Conventions for which India is part of.
- Coordination with International Authorities: NCB should also provide assistance to the concerned authorities in foreign countries and concerned international organizations with a view to prevent and suppress illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
- Treatment of Addicts: The NCB shall also provide identification, treatment, education, after care, rehabilitation and social reintegration to all those people who have been addicted to drugs.
NCB’S ROLE IN THE DEATH OF SUSHANT SINGH RAJPUT
- After the death of Sushant Singh Rajput by suicide on 14th June 2020, chaos took over the social media and mainstream media due to the sudden death of the actor who had entertained as well motivated the entire country with his popular films such as “M.S Dhoni: The Untold Story” and “Chhichore”.
- The chaos was further ignited when Sushant’s family filed an FIR had been lodged against Sushant Singh Rajput’s ex-girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty and six other people.
- After a team was sent out to Mumbai from Patna to investigate the probe, the Superintendent of Police of Central Patna was quarantined by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for 14 days thereby delaying the investigation of the Bihar Police.
- Many politicians, actors and media channels started calling out the incompetent and ineffective investigation led by the Mumbai Police, who were unable to find out the cause of the actor’s death and were denying the Bihar Police to let them be involved with the case.
- Later the Central Government accepted the Bihar Government’s request to transfer the case to the Central Bureau Investigation which was later acknowledged by the Supreme Court in the case of Rhea Chakraborty v State of Bihar, on August 19 declaring it as “lawful”.
- The Enforcement Directorate, another law enforcement agency for enforcing economic laws and preventing money laundering and black money corruption in India, was looking into the allegations of large amounts of money being transferred in the accounts of Rhea Chakraborty after the death of Sushant Singh Rajput.
- While the ED was investigating Rhea’s phone, they found some deleted WhatsApp chats which allegedly linked her to procuring of banned drugs. After which the Narcotics Control Bureau registered the case in Delhi on August 26 and started its investigation of the drug angle in the death of Sushant Singh Rajput.
- The power to summon any person is vested to NCB under Section 67 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 wherein an officer of the NCB can summon any person for certain information if the officer is satisfied that there has been a contravention of the provisions of this Act. The officer can also ask that person summoned to produce the requisite document which is relevant to the enquiry of the case.
- With the help of this law, the NCB can summon any person, irrespective of his status or rank, to their offices and interrogate them to solve any drug related case they are involved in. Many big personalities such as Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, Shraddha Kapoor and were summoned by the NCB for questioning after NCB found various drug related chats involving them.
- Therefore, three biggest law enforcement agencies (Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and Narcotics Control Bureau) are investigating different angles in the death of Sushant Singh Rajput.
WHY ARE SUCH LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES NECESSARY IN OUR COUNTRY?
- One of the most important questions that is asked is why the Central Government spends crores of rupees for the functioning of such intelligence agencies. We have to realize that in a country of 1.3 billion, “law and order” is not easy to get by.
- In order to live in a healthy and a respectable society, the “Rule of Law” is necessary and should be applied to each and every person. Penalties and punishments are a must for the guilty ones who are not within the line of “Rule of Law”. However, with technological advancements and breathtaking innovations in our country, the level of exploitation has also risen to greater levels in the field of politics, economics, cyberbullying, terrorism etc.
- Class society has also been inevitably increasing day by day thereby increasing the gap between the rich and poor. The higher strata of the society have always had an upper hand in terms of political, economic and social gain than the lower strata who suffer the most.
- Therefore, there is a definite need for law enforcement agencies which establish itself over a specific part of the wrongdoing of the society and try to eradicate all the inequalities and provide justice to the needy ones.
- The Central Government thus has created many law enforcement agencies such as Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate, Narcotics Control Bureau, National Investigation Agency etc. in order to protect the sovereignty and integrity from all the harms within and outside the territory of India in a scrupulous and procedure by the different laws vested on them, in an efficient and an impartial manner without any political influence from State Governments and maintain transparency throughout its investigation.
- Therefore, the role of the Narcotics Control Bureau is necessary to prevent and combat the illicit trafficking of banned narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as they are being increasingly consumed by the youth of our country who are destroying themselves as well as their family’s lives on a daily basis.
Although there are requisite drug laws in our country, there is a need of large-scale reformation in our drug laws. In the contemporary times, mental health is one of the many big obstacles that the youth of our country is facing. Instead of reconciliation, our youth is spiraling down deep into a gloomy chasm by procuring drugs on a daily basis and encouraging their peers to indulge in the same in order to escape reality and face this grim world. Punishing a person who indulges in drugs just because he/she cannot cope up with his/her life will achieve nothing but a gloomy shadow over his/her future, which is against the concept of rehabilitation. We need some reformations in this field so that instead of prosecuting individuals, they should be admitted into proper rehabilitation centers in order to improve their mental health and motivate them to lead a healthy life for their loved ones.
 Rhea Chakraborty v State of Bihar, 2020 OnLine SC 654