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Under NDPS Act, abetment, criminal conspiracy and even attempts to commit an offence attract the same punishment as the offence itself. Preparation to commit an offence attracts half the penalty. Repeat offences attract one and half times the penalty and in some cases death penalty. Since the penalties under this Act are very stiff, several procedural safeguards have been provided in the Act. Some immunities are also available under the Act.

It is not easy to dodge the NDPS Act or get bail. It is a special legislation in which the basic principle of natural justice — that one is innocent till proven guilty — is reversed. The accused has to prove his or her innocence.

Under the NDPS Act, penalties depend on the quantity of the narcotics material involved. The Centre has notified the individual small and commercial quantities for each drug. For hashish, the commercial quantity is one kilogram.

Consumption of drugs like cocaine, morphine and heroin attracts rigorous imprisonment up to one year or fine up to Rs. 20,000 or both. For other drugs, the punishment is imprisonment up to six months or fine up to Rs. 10,000 or both. Addicts volunteering for treatment enjoy immunity from prosecution.

Production, manufacture, possession, sale, purchase, transport, import inter-state, export inter-state or use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances in small quantities involve rigorous imprisonment up to six months or fine up to Rs.10,000 or both. More than small quantity but less than commercial quantity involves rigorous imprisonment up to 10 years and fine up to Rs one lakh. Those activities involving the commercial quantities of drugs attract rigorous imprisonment of 10 to 20 years and fine of Rs one lakh to two lakh.

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