In its judgment of the first case of Spasmo Proxyvon Plus (SP+) on July 26 the Supreme Court said that the Bhutan Narcotic Control Authority is now authorized to update the list of controlled or banned drugs.
According to chapter VII, section 59 of Narcotic Drugs Psychotropic Substance and Substance Abuse Act of Bhutan (NDPSSA) 2015, the Parliament may amend the Schedules including addition, deletion of the substance in the Schedule or the whole Schedule and or qualification of any of the substance deemed to be abused or trafficked.
BNCA officials said that the Bhutan Narcotic Control board after consulting with its stakeholders such as like non government organisation (NGO), Law Enforcement Agencies, Chithuen Phendhey Association (CPA) proposed the board be given the authority to amend the schedules but the parliament rejected the proposal.
An official from BNCA said that SP+ is a narcotic drug with medicinal value not listed as controlled drug on the list of controlled substance in the country. He said SP+ was not included in the list of banned drug because one of the ingredients of SP+ called Tramadol, a synthetic Opioid, was available in market only after NDPSSA 2015 was implemented.
“The market is flooded with not just Tramadol but many new drugs containing Opioid but we cannot do anything because the board does not have the right to amend the Schedule but if we were given the authority, whenever new drugs enter the market, we could list it as controlled or banned substance in the country,” the official said. “However, BNCA as an implementing agency respect the judgment of Supreme Court and will list the drug immediately because research and investigation on Tramadol is almost completed.”
The Supreme Court says there was oversight in drafting the amendment of act and the Parliament didn’t not establish a clause that could cover narcotic substances not listed in the act.
According to the judgment, “Convicts whose cases are under trial in court and under investigation are not acquitted but are required to pay Thrimthue. Hereafter those arrested will be dealt as per the section 137 and 139 of NDPSSA Act 2015”.
“We would like to clarify that convicts whose cases were under trail and under investigation are not acquitted but they are required to pay thrimthue and thrimthue is the prerogative of judiciary,” a BNCA official said. “For example, if the judge feels that the convict is going to commit a crime again, instead of paying thrimthue, he or she would be imprisoned and if the judge believes that the person would not commit a crime after this, we or she shall be allowed to pat thrimthue.”