Taking note of the growing menace of drug abuse amongst college students, the Telangana High Court has issued a slew of directions for institutes to prevent the same.
A single-Judge bench of Justice Vinod Kumar was hearing an appeal preferred by two students of NIT, Warangal who had been suspended from attending classes for a period of one year apart from imposition of a monetary penalty of Rs. 1 lakh, for having been found intoxicated and in possession of marijuana, at wee hours on college campus.
While the court decided to take a lenient approach towards the Petitioner-students, it went on to insist upon the responsibility of educational institutions under the National Policy on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, for taking steps to curb drug abuse amongst students.
The court held that Institutions, such as the esteemed NITs, should continuously work towards providing resources and support to students in order to curb them from abusing drugs and to rehabilitate the students who are addicted to drugs.
In this backdrop, the court directed:
It has however been clarified that the above measures are only suggestive and it is open for the institutions to evolve their own policy with regard to dealing with such drug abuse and measures to be implemented.
With regards the case at hand, the court observed that in cases of such breach or aberrations of institutional rules, the courts should exercise restraint and should not interfere in matters of discipline as the same would "send a wrong signal" and may "disturb the entire academic atmosphere".
However, it said, the tender age of the Petitioner-students could not be ignored and there was a calling need to strike a balance between 'the act and the measure'. It said,
"This court is also conscious to the fact that the students who are in tender age with new found freedom and independence after putting in through formative years and being admitted to premiere institute, would find themselves to be in a different zone altogether. The sudden got freedom, surrounded by various distractions and also being vulnerable to involving themselves in unwanted issues, cannot always be purely attributable to one's wilful wrongdoings. Though such acts don't need to be commended, at the same time balance has to be struck between the act and the measure."
Accordingly, expressing strong hope that the petitioners will be moulded in the right path by the concerned authorities, the court ordered that a reformative approach should be adopted in the matter rather than adopting a deterrent/ punitive action.
Case Title: Sameer Abdul Lathif v. State of Telangana & Ors.
Case No.: WP No. 2152/2020 & 2277/2020
Quorum: Justice Vinod Kumar
Click Here To Download Judgment