The Delhi High Court on Tuesday upheld stringent penal provision for illegal use and abuse of Ketamine, notorious for its use as a date rape drug.For preparation, possession and consumption of Ketamine are offences under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and as per law, a person can be sent to jail for a minimum of six months and up to 20 years for varying degrees of contravention involving Psychotropic Substances.A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath upheld a February 10, 2011 notification of the central government which included Ketamine as Psychotropic Substances (any drug capable of affecting the mind, emotions, and behaviour) under the NDPS Act.The bench took into note the submissions of the central government that Ketamine, which is a popular anaesthetic in veterinary medicine, is subject to abuse and the same is gradually rising in India.Ketamine has a wide range of effects in human including analgesic, anaesthesia, hallucination, elevated blood pressure and bronchodilation.
The bench also took into note that both "Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) recommended to put in place appropriate control measures to address the growing problem of Ketamine abuse and diversion to illicit channel for non-medical use".It added: "We are also satisfied that there is enough material before the Centre with regard to trafficking of Ketamine."The bench also upheld subsequent notification that specified the 'small' and 'commercial' quantity of Ketamine as '10 grams' and '500 grams' respectively for the purpose of penal provisions under the Act.The court's order came on a plea filed by a man, who is in jail since 2014 after 1,195.2 kilos of 'Ketamine Hydrochloride' was seized from him.He had challenged the inclusion of Ketamine in the list of Psychotropic Substances under NDPS Act as per a 2011 notification but the court dismissed his plea. He had contended that the notification was issued without following the procedure established under the NDPS Act."The writ petition is devoid of merit and is, accordingly, dismissed," said the court.