Punjab & Haryana HC Issues Slew Of Directions To Curb Drug Abuse In State [Read Judgment]
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday issued a slew of directions to tackle the menace of drug abuse in the State.
The directions were issued by a bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu. These included steps such as awareness drives and were especially directed towards securing school children and prisoners from falling prey to addiction.
The court was hearing two appeals, one filed by Baljinder Singh and another by Khushi Khan, challenging their conviction under Section 15 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. They were both sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period 12 years and to pay a fine of Rs. 2 lakhs each.
The court, however, set aside their conviction, while taking serious note of the problem of drug abuse in the State. It referred to the National Policy on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, to highlight the fact that "drug addiction is increasingly becoming an area of concern as traditional moorings, effective social taboos, emphasis on self-restraint and pervasive control and discipline of the joint family and community are eroding with industrialization and urbanization".
The court also emphasised on the issue of smuggling of drugs in prisons, and advocated for sensitization of prison staff and registration of addicts. It then relied on the guidelines issued by the Delhi High Court in Aasha v. State Government of N.C.T. of Delhi and another to issue the following directions:
1. The State Government is directed to launch special awareness drives to make the people aware of the ill- effects of drugs on the society. The Deputy Commissioner of the district shall be the Nodal Officer to make the citizens aware of the ill-effects of the drugs and controlling the same. The State Government shall make sufficient provisions for awareness drives through electronic media, print media, internet, radio television etc.
Latest kits for investigation
2. The State Government is directed to provide latest kits to the Investigating Officers to investigate the matters under the Opium Act, NDPS Act and other allied Acts and also to hold refresher course periodically to apprise the police personnel the procedure to be adopted while conducting investigation under the NDPS Act. The State of Punjab is directed to issue direction to the police department that complainant should not be I.O. to obviate bias.
Registration of cases under Prevention of Money Laundering Act against drug kingpins
3. The State Government through the Director General of Police is directed to register cases against the kingpins under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 at the time of lodging the FIR under the NDPS Act and Opium Act and also, if necessary, by attaching their properties provisionally relating to supply of poppy straw, coca plant and coca leaves, prepared opium, opium poppy and opium, opium by cultivator, cannabis plant and cannabis, manufactured drugs and preparation and psychotropic substances including artificial drugs etc.
Rehabilitation Centers in each district
4. Since the drugs menace has attained alarming proportion, the State Government is directed to establish Rehabilitation Centers in each district of the State within a period of six months from today. The rehabilitation centers shall provide all the basic necessities to the inmates including boarding, lodging, counselling etc.
5. The State Government is directed to appoint one Psychiatrist for counselling in each Rehabilitation Center. The Counsellor appointed in rehabilitation center shall also visit all the schools falling in his jurisdiction advising the students about the ill-effects of drugs.
Counselling in schools
6. All the educational institutions i.e. government run, government aided, private schools, minority institutions, are directed to appoint the senior-most teacher as the Nodal Officer to counsel the students on every Friday of the month about the ill-effects of drugs. In case, he finds any drugs abuse or symptoms, he shall be at liberty to summon the parents of students. The parents will be sensitized against the drugs abuse in parent-teacher meetings.
Policemen around Educational institutions
7. The State Government is directed to ensure to post one plain-clothes policeman from 8 AM to 6 PM around all the educational institutions to nab the drugs peddlers and kingpins. The local intelligence units are directed to keep a close watch on the shops including Dhabas, tuck shops, Khokas, tea stalls to ensure that the owners thereof are not permitted to indulge in the sale of drugs etc.
Code of conduct during raids and investigation
8. The Drugs Inspector while raiding the factories, industries, medical shops shall be accompanied by a person not below the rank of the Assistant Commissioner of Police including the Gazetted Officer from the Food and Supplies Department.
9. The Assistant Commissioner of Police of the concerned district shall personally monitor all the cases registered under the Opium Act and the NDPS Act, 1985 to plug the loopholes during the course of enquiry and investigation to increase the conviction rate.
10. The Executive Magistrates and the Gazetted officers throughout the State shall be informed about their duties to be discharged under the NDPS Act more particularly, under Section 50 and the latest law laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India and by this Court from time to time.
Keeping minors away from drugs
11. The Police Officers shall ensure that no minor is served any drugs, alcoholic beverages in any medical shops, bars, restaurants and through vend. No vend shall supply/sell the liquor to any minor. In the eventuality of liquor being supplied/sold to a minor, the licence issued for bar/vend shall be cancelled after putting them to notice. This direction shall be complied with by the police force as well as by the Excise Department. The concerned Assistant Commissioner of Police shall visit every medical shop at least within 24 hours to check the supply of drugs to any minor.
Revamping of special task force
12. The Director General of Police, State of Punjab, is directed to revamp, restructure strengthen special task force.
Tasks and duties of District Narcotics Cells
13. The District Narcotics Cells constituted by the State of Punjab shall immediately undertake the following tasks:-
- Each Anti Narcotics Cell is directed to identify such area in the district in which there are complaints of sale of drugs or where the drugs addicts are found operating based on these information, the local police shall immediately take necessary steps to bust/apprehend such peddlers who are active in drugs trafficking.
- As a further action, such potential suppliers shall also be identified by Anti Narcotics Cell as well as local police and action as per law should be taken against them.
- The Anti Narcotic Cell shall take action against the abettors and conspirators, aiding the sale of drugs as per Section 29 of the NDPS Act.
- Each Police station throughout State of Punjab shall prepare database/record of all individuals, who were previously involved in NDPS Act cases or have pending cases registered against them under NDPS Act and requisite surveillance will be undertaken qua on them so that substantive as well as preventive actions can be taken against them.
- The Director, Education is directed to provide the list of vulnerable Government schools, Government aided Schools, Public Schools and Minority Schools for monitoring and curbing availability and peddling the drugs and narcotics substances among school going children to the police authorities. Local Police shall take proactive and ensure Zero Tolerance on this issue. All out efforts shall be made to identify such elements and in case any peddler is identified, immediate action shall be taken against him.
- The Anti Narcotic Cell shall take action against unscrupulous elements who are involved in sale of Pharmaceutical product without prescription which is to be used as a narcotics substance.
- There shall be regular training for capacity building and improving the investigating as well as intelligence collection skills of the investigating officer with regard to detection and investigation of NDPS Act related cases.
- The emphasis shall also be on the public schools. The Director Higher Education and Director School Education shall also visit the public schools. The free access shall be given to the Management to the School to the high ranking officers.
14. The State Government is directed to increase public awareness in the society. The Police shall be sensitized qua street peddlers. The Police shall be trained to deal with peddlers.
15. The State Government is directed to develop special, mobile, anti-peddling squads of police with jurisdiction of all over the cities and adjoining areas.
Chapter on drug abuse in schools
16. The State Government through the Secretary, Education is directed to include a mandatory and comprehensive chapter on drug abuse and illicit trafficking and its socio-economic cost to self, society and the country in the syllabus for 10+1 and 10+2 students.
Special steps for securing schools from the menace
17. The local police is directed to pay special attention to areas surrounding schools including Government schools, Government aided Schools, Public Schools and Minority Schools, colleges, Universities and coaching Centres in their efforts to tackle drug peddlers.
18. The School Management, Principals and Teachers shall be encouraged sensitized to look out for peddlers in their vicinity and report them to police immediately.
19. All the schools throughout of State Government including Government, Government aided, minority institutions, public schools, Universities, colleges, Polytechnic colleges and Coaching Centres are directed to constitute anti-drug clubs to promote a drug free life among its members and also in the institution.
Steps for securing prisoners from drug abuse
20. The State Government is also directed to sensitize the Prison staff in detecting and seizing drugs in prisons.
21. The Prisons shall be equipped with sniffer dogs to check the visitors and packages for drugs in the entry and exiting points. All the addicts within the prison including open jail shall be registered and compulsorily sent for de-addiction.
22. Every prisoner entering in the prison shall be tested for addiction and shall be de-addicted if he is found to be addicted.
23. All the prisoners who are arrested in crimes before their production in a court by an arresting agency shall be examined by the doctor and Doctor shall record their history or symptoms, if any of drug abuse. Wherever an arrested person shows signs of addiction, the police should take him to a doctor or a hospital to determine, if
he is an addict, and if so, take measures to treat him.
24. There should be coordination amongst the school authorities, police authorities and hospitals/ rehabilitation centres.
25. The State is directed to strictly enforce Section 71 of the NDPS Act.
Read the Judgment Here
Punjab & Haryana HC Issues Directions To Curb Drug Abuse | Directions To Curb Drug Abuse | Punjab and Haryana High Court | Justice Rajiv Sharma | Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu