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Jan Vishwas Act amendment on Drugs & Cosmetics Act to be in force from December

Gireesh Babu, New Delhi
Tuesday, April 2, 2024, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The amended provisions under the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Act, 2023 notified by the Central government last year for removal of stringent punishments such as imprisonment from some of the Sections of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, will be in force from December 31, 2024.

The ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) in a notification on March 28, said, “…the Central Government hereby appoints that the amendments mentioned to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (23 of 1940) mentioned in column (5) of the Schedule to the said Act, against serial number 6 mentioned in column (1) of the said Schedule, shall come into force from the December 31, 2024”.

According to the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Act, 2023, the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 has been amended to the effect that a few provisions where the imprisonment will be substituted with provisions for penalty.

An amendment has also been made on the Section 32B, which is related to compounding of certain offences, adding "clause (d) of Section 27 and clause (ii) of Section 27A," to the subsection (1).

Based on this, some of the offences including manufacturing of drugs in contravention of the provisions, but not adulterated or spurious under Section 27, and any cosmetic other than spurious, but in contravention of any provisions of the chapter or any other rules, will be compounded by the Central or the state government.

While there has been criticism that making the Section 27 (d) as compoundable may mean that the complainant and the accused firm can arrive at an out-of-court settlement and thus dilute the punitive measures, the government has said the amendments would not dilute the punitive provisions, but compounding is being offered as a mechanism for resolution of the litigation.

The government need to frame rules for compounding of offences under Section 32B of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and a Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC) meeting held under the Chairmanship of Drugs Controller General (India) Dr Rajeev Singh Raghuvanshi on September 26, 2023, said that a draft towards laying rules as per the new amendments has already been prepared and the matter is under further examination and consideration.

As per the Jan Vishwas Act amendment, in Section 29 of the Act, which deals with the penalty for use of government analysts' report for advertisement, for the words "punishable with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees," the words "liable to penalty which may extend to one lakh rupees" is substituted.

In Section 30, on the penalty of subsequent offences by whoever having been convicted of an offence under Section 29 is again convicted of an offence under the same section, the Jan Vishwas Amendment Act substitutes the punishment of imprisonment which may extend to two years, or with fine which shall not be less than Rs. 10,000, or with both, with "fine which shall not be less than five lakh rupees".

The amendment Act was passed by the Upper House of the Parliament on August 2, 2023. The Bill was first introduced in Lok Sabha on 22nd December 2022. Subsequently, it was referred to the Joint Committee of the Parliament, which submitted its report in March, 2023. The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in June 2023.


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