Lok Sabha passes The Jan Vishwas Bill to Amend Drugs and Cosmetics Act

The proposed amendment does not alter the quantum of punishment for offences falling under Section 27(d) of the Act.

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Parliament of India Lok Sabha
Picture: Pixabay

Last Updated on August 3, 2023 by The Health Master

Jan Vishwas Bill

During the ongoing monsoon session of the parliament, the Lok Sabha passed the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, which proposes an amendment to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, in India.

The key objective of this amendment is to classify specific violations related to drugs as compoundable offences, allowing offenders to resolve the cases through fines or non-criminal penalties rather than strict imprisonment.

The Purpose of the Amendment

The Jan Vishwas Bill, first introduced in December of the previous year, and subsequently referred to the joint committee of the parliament, was successfully passed on Thursday.

The amendment aims to tackle certain violations related to drugs and pharmaceutical products through a balanced approach to enforcement and resolution.

Compoundable Offences under the Proposed Amendment

The proposed amendment targets specific offences and aims to classify them as compoundable under Section 27 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. Under this provision, offenders will have the option to opt for non-criminal penalties, such as paying fines, instead of facing strict imprisonment for the mentioned violations.

Also read: All Legislation of India (for Pharma and Health professionals)

Preserving Stringent Penalties

The proposed amendment does not alter the quantum of punishment for offences falling under Section 27(d) of the Act.

Offenders found guilty of such offences will still face the prescribed imprisonment term of “not less than one year, which may extend to two years.”

It is crucial to note that offences covered under clauses (a), (b), and (c) of Section 27, involving “adulterated,” “spurious,” and “manufactured without a license” drugs, will continue to be subject to rigorous criminal penalties.

Addressing Decriminalisation Concerns

In response to concerns about decriminalisation, it is essential to clarify that the Jan Vishwas Bill does not advocate complete decriminalisation of relevant offences.

Instead, it introduces the concept of compounding, providing a resolution mechanism for cases that do not fall under severe classifications.

Compounding allows offenders to settle their cases through fines or alternative penalties without undergoing a full criminal trial.

Scope of the Proposed Amendment

The proposed amendment specifically focuses on violations related to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, while excluding certain offences that pose significant risks to public health and safety.

Offences involving drugs that fail safety parameters, contain toxic substances, are manufactured in unsanitary conditions, lack proper licenses, or use deceptive packaging will continue to be subject to stringent criminal provisions.

This ensures that the highest standards of quality and safety are maintained in the pharmaceutical industry.

Conclusion:

The Jan Vishwas Bill seeks to strike a balance between enforcement and resolution for violations related to drugs in India.

By introducing the concept of compounding, the bill offers a resolution mechanism that allows certain offenders to avoid strict imprisonment by paying fines or undergoing alternative penalties.

However, it is important to note that severe violations will continue to face rigorous criminal penalties to uphold public health and safety standards.

The bill’s passage in the Lok Sabha has sparked debates, with some expressing concerns about its potential impact on the pharmaceutical industry and citizen safety.

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