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^Definition. It is difficult to give an exact definition of the term,
" poison ", for substances which are harmless to the body in certain condi-
tions may become dangerous in other conditions. For instance, the salts of
potassium are not only not poisonous in small doses, but are essential for the
maintenance of a healthy condition of the body. In large quantities,
however, they act as acute poisons, capable of destroying life. Broadly
speaking, a poison may be defined as a substance of the nature of a drug
which, if administered in a way and in an amount in which it is likely to be
administered, will produce deleterious effects of a serious nature. This,
however, only applies to the term as usually employed. It does not cover
the poisonous gases, which are not substances of the nature of a drug. But
they are not often used criminally, except during warfare.1

Law relating to Poisons.  In cases of criminal poisoning in India the law
does not insist on the precise definition of a poison, since sections2 of the
Indian Penal Code dealing with the offences relating to the administration
of a poison make use of such self-explanatory terms as " any poison or any
stupefying, intoxicating, or unwholesome drug, or other thing ", or " any
corrosive substance or any substance which it is deleterious to the human
body to inhale, to swallow, or to receive into the blood ". With regard to
41 any poisonous substance " used in section 284 of the Indian Penal Code 3
all that the law requires is that the substance is such as, if taken, will
endanger human life, or will be likely to cause hurt or injury to any person.
Again, the law takes cognizance of the malicious intention of the individual
who administers a drug or other substance with a view to causing injury or
death, irrespective of the quantity or quality of the substance.

Sale of Poisons.  In the year 1866 the Bombay Poisons Act (Bombay
Act No. VIII of 1866) was passed, which controlled the sale of certain
specified poisons in the Presidency of Bombay, but there was no law f estrict-
ing the sale of poisons in the whole of India, until the Poisons Act was
passed in 1&04 by the Governor-General-in-Council providing for regulations
the possession and sale of all poisons in certain local areas and the importa*
tion, possession and sale of white arsenic without a licence throughout the
whole of British India, This Act was repealed, and another Poisons Act
{Act No. XII of 1919) was passed in 1919, which extends to the whole of
India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Under this Act the Central
Government may, by notification in the Gazette of India, prohibit except
under and in accordance "with the conditions of a licence, the importation
into India of any specified poison, and may by rule regulate the grant of
licences. Subject to the control of the Central Government, the appropriate
Government may by rale regulate within $^ whole or any part of the terri-
tories under its administration the possession for sale and the sale, whether
wholesale or retai^ of any specified poison. The State Government may also

1.   The Geneva Protocol of 19^ prctiibits the use of poisonous or asphyxiating gases
in warfare, but it is alleged &a$ f$ Italians used them, in the Italo-Ethiopian war.

2.   Vide Appendix IV, Seefetes              and 328, LP.C., as also sections 299 and 304-A,
Indian Penal Code.                           "*,   ?"

3.   Vide Appendix IV.      *