Prior to NDPS Act 1985, control over the narcotic drugs in India was exercised through many Central and State legislation’s. As the time passed, changes also came in the operations of drug trafficking and the ways to drug abuse making the existing laws ineffective and out of date. Some of the major flaws in the laws prior to NDPS Act 1985 are listed under four points.
The provisions of penalties and punishments for the offenses were not strict. The maximum punishment provided under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1930 was only 3 years of , imprisonment with/without fine. For repeated offense it was 4 years of imprisonment with or without fine. This kind of mild punishment was not enough to deter anyone involved in either trafficking or abuse of the narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
Various enforcement agencies like the narcotic, customs, central and excise etc. responsible to prevention abuse and trafficking of banned drugs lacked enough authority to investigate and question in cases pertaining to drug trafficking and other related cases involving the banned substances.
India was one of the parities to sign international signed conventions and treaties in the field of narcotics control. These conventions and treaties called for some obligations but the existing central laws did not cover these obligations at all or in some cases the obligations associated with the treaties were partly covered.
Additional problem of in addition to narcotic drugs, was the trafficking and abuse of psychotropic substances. Controls were recommended in the convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971, in which India also participated. But the existing laws did not cover any clause to check the spread of Psychotropic Substances in the Indian society.
Laws though existed they lacked teeth. On the other band the problem of drug abuse and other related crimes were increasing. Thus, in order to check the spreading menace of narcotic drugs and psychotropic need was felt to have a stringent legislation.