No fundamental right to consume intoxicant drugs: Gujarat HC [Read Judgment]

No fundamental right to consume intoxicant drugs: Gujarat HC [Read Judgment]


There cannot be a right to consume a particular substance which is like poppy straw, much less the same can by any stretched be viewed or claimed as fundamental right flowing from Article 21 of the Constitution, the Court said while upholding ban of Poppy capsules.


The Gujarat High Court, observing that there is no fundamental right to consume intoxicants, has upheld the Resolution by Home Department of the state by which it had prohibited and discontinued the supply of Poppy Capsules by Government authorities. Justice N.V. Anjaria also observed that the ban amounts to redemption of the Directive Principles of State Policy under Article 47 of the Constitution.

Six persons, claiming to be regular users of poppy capsules, had approached the High Court challenging the ban by the Government. According to them, it violated their fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

BAN TO IMPROVE PUBLIC HEALTH

Rejecting their contention, the court observed: “Article 47 which is Directive Principle of State Policy, enjoins a duty on the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health. It is a constitutional mandate that all policy decisions and actions by the State has to be guided and beckoned by the statutory principles contained in these Directives. Therefore the banning of use of poppy capsules is informed by and amounts to redemption of the Directive Principles of State Policy under Article 47 of the Constitution.”

NO FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO INTOXICANT DRUGS

Dismissing the petitions preferred, the court observed that there is no fundamental right to use intoxicants and said: “Addiction to a drug or a narcotic substance can never be claimed as right. Such proposition never hold good and is incongruous to the concept of right in the society governed by rule of law. A right to be so-called for an individual living in the society has the necessary constituent of the rule of law and the collective interest. There cannot be a right to consume a particular substance which is like poppy straw, much less the same can by any stretched be viewed or claimed as fundamental right flowing from Article 21 of the Constitution. The concept of ‘life’ encapsulated under Article 21 signifies healthy, reach and contentful orderly life. Right to health is recognized as part of Article 21. A consumption of intoxicant or narcotic or psychotropic substance is antithetic to the concept of health and therefore stands divorced from the right to life and from any other concomitant rights which may be claimed under the canopy of rights under Article 21. Right of such nature cannot be claimed as fundamental. Claiming that right to consume poppy capsule is one emanating from right to life, is to seek expansion of interpretation of Article 21, which is both in naïve and nasty. Right to life and liberty enshrined under Article 21 cannot have this much stress and width so as to allow a person to consume a intoxicating or psychotropic substance on the ground which are otherwise not supported by the expert studies.”

Read the Judgment here.