Chandigarh, September 4: The controversy around the criminal liability of possessing buprenorphine injections under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act continues. As a result, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has stated that an accused would be entitled to file a fresh petition for grant of regular bail in case a Division Bench held that buprenorphine was not a psychotropic substance, its possession was not an offence and punishment under Section 22 of the NDPS Act was not attracted. 

Buprenorphine is a derivative of an Opioid alkaloid and is a more potent and longer lasting analgesic than morphine.

Taking up one such matter, the High Court asserted there was a conflict between the judgements as to whether the possession of buprenorphine injections would constitute an offence under the NDPS Act and the rules framed there-under, The Tribune reported.

The High Court stated that the matter had already been referred to a larger Bench in the case of Anil Kumar alias Nehla versus the State of Punjab on October 1, 2018. The case, last heard on January 13, was adjourned for further hearing in April. But the matter could not make headway as the High Court went into restrictive functioning mode following Covid outbreak. The case is now listed for November third week.

The issue was once again raised before the High Court after a woman filed a petition seeking regular bail in a drugs case. Her counsel contended that the petitioner had been falsely implicated. The Bench was told that 14 injections each of buprenorphine and Avil were allegedly recovered from the petitioner and that too without following the mandatory provisions of the NDPS Act.

Her counsel denied the allegations. But he added that Rule 66 of the NDPS Actwould be applicable, even if the allegations were believed to be true. It allowed any person to possess up to 100 doses of the said psychotropic substance without any prescription from a registered medical practitioner.

The High Court asserted that the accused had a history of conviction for 10 years in a case and was already facing trial in another for recovery of 20gm of heroin.

“Consequently, the petition for grant of regular bail stands dismissed. However, it is held that the petitioner would be entitled to file a fresh petition for grant of regular bail in case the Division Bench decides the reference holding that buprenorphine is not a psychotropic substance,” the High Court added.

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