Indian parliament proposes life in prison for chemical dealing

India has introduced a new bill to parliament that would result in life imprisonment for anyone found guilty of illegally dealing in toxic chemicals.

Under the proposed Chemical Weapons Convention (Amendment) Bill 2010, illegally dealing in toxic chemicals "shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to term of life and shall also be liable to a fine which may extend to one lakh rupees ($2,250.00)."

The bill was introduced by Srikant Jena, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers. The bill would amend the Chemical Weapons Convention Act 2000 that went into effect in 2005.

The 2000 act is the enabling legislation for the Convention on Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and use of Chemical Weapons and their Destruction, which was signed by India in 1993.

The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was informed by India last year that the nation had destroyed its stockpile of chemical weapons in fulfillment of its obligation to the arms control agreement.

India had declared that it held a stockpile of 1,044 tons of sulfur mustard in 1997. A that time, less than two percent of the nation's sulfur mustard was used in artillery shells with the remained stored in bulk containers.