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The Delhi High Court has refused to remove Ketamine, used as an anaesthetic in veterinary medicine and also known as a party and date rape drug, from the list of psychotropic substances. A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini (since retired) and Justice Jayant Nath upheld the inclusion of Ketamine in the list of regulated drugs on the ground that it was being abused in South-East Asian countries and there were also complaints about its trafficking in India. The court observed that both the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the International Narcotics Control Board, a body which monitors implementation of United Nations International Drug Control Conventions, have recommended curbing the abuse and diversion of the drug for non-medical use. The order came on a plea filed by one Vishal Puri, who is behind bars since April 2014 and facing trial in Mumbai for possession of 1,195.2 kg of Ketamine Hydrochloride. In his plea, he has challenged the Centre's February 10, 2011 notification by which Ketamine was included in the list of psychotropic substances. He had also challenged the consequential notification of June 21, 2011, which had specified that 'small' and 'commercial' quantities of Ketamine could result in penal action under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. While rejecting his plea as devoid of merit, the bench said there was enough material with the government to show trafficking of Ketamine. Puri had contended that since Ketamine is not a psychotropic substance under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971, it should not be included in the list of psychotropic substances under the notification.
He had also claimed that the notification did not comply with the conditions set out in the NDPS Act. As per the NDPS Act, the central government is empowered to add to the list of regulated psychotropic substances.
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