Tripura HC Tells Govt To Destroy Cannabis Crop In 6 Months, Prevent Further Cultivation [Read Judgment]
‘No leniency should be shown to those who are found to be involved in the illicit trade of narcotic drugs and phychotropic substances, as it may completely ruin the life of a large body of persons.’
Taking note of the gravity and precarious situation of illegal drug trafficking in the state, the Tripura High Court has directed the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police in the state to take active steps to destroy the cultivation of grown-up cannabis (ganja) and also to prevent further cultivation of cannabis in any of the parts of the state.
Justice Arindam Lodh issued these directives while considering a bail application filed by an accused under the NDPS Act. The court rejected the bail application of the accused observing that ‘no leniency should be shown to those who are found to be involved in the illicit trade of narcotic drugs and phychotropic substances, as it may completely ruin the life of a large body of persons’.
During the course of hearing, Advocate General AK Bhowmik and several other counsel expressed their apprehension about illegal drug trafficking.
The Advocate General, while opposing the bail applications submitted before the court that the entire state has been engulfed with the cultivation of cannabis and inter-state drug peddlers/mafias have become involved in the State of Tripura.
“The entire State has become a gateway of smuggling of drugs and other psychotropic substances. Even the semi-fertile lands of the State are being converted into fertile land for cultivating ganjas. The farmers and vegetable growers have turned their face from cultivating and growing crops and vegetable and they are forced to lease their land to those illegal drug peddlers active in the State. The alarming participation of the youth in the State in the trading of cannabis and other psychotropic substances has forced the state government to take special measures to prevent and save the people from being habitual user of this poison. In view of the special drive, huge cannabis as well as other psychotropic substances have already been seized and recovered from various parts of the State and many involved in this business have been arrested. The investigation of the cases reveal that there are organized rackets and gangsters operating across the state and influencing the youth to take part in the business and the youth for their easy earning are gradually joining into those illegal trade of drugs and other psychotropic substances,” the court was told.
The bench said: “The deliberations of learned Advocate General appeared to be true as this court has recently observed increased numbers of filing bail applications in connection with various cases registered under the provisions of NDPS Act.”
The other counsel present in the court also made submissions in this regard. They said the state of Tripura has become a gateway of intra and interstate smuggling of drugs being smuggled to different parts of the world through the porous borders of Tripura with the neighbouring country, Bangladesh and that the state government is a silent spectator and it encourages the ongoing cultivation of cannabis and trading of other illegal drugs.
In this regard, the bench observed: “This court shares the concern expressed by the learned counsel who are also the officers of the court and had obligation towards the society. As they pointed out the defective investigation conducted in the NDPS Act.”
Taking note of these submissions, the court issued following directives to the state:
- To take active steps to destroy the cultivation of grown-up cannabis (ganja) as well as the cultivation of said cannabis and form an appropriate committee comprising of Superintendent of Police of all the Districts of the State of Tripura to take appropriate measures to prevent further cultivation of cannabis in any of the parts of the state of Tripura. The said exercise shall be completed within a period of 6 (six) months from the period of passing of this judgment. Further, the officers, as aforesaid, are directed to furnish the report of progress of implementation of this order within 1st week of every month.
- The Chief Secretary and the DGP will take appropriate measure to train and educate the police officials in regard to the compliance of the procedure established by law, which they should follow at the time of seizure and recovery of the illegal drugs, as mentioned in the NDPS Act.
- The State government may take the assistance of Tripura Law Training Institute as well as Tripura Judicial Academy for this purpose.
- At the same time, it is also directed that the two top officers of the State should keep a strong vigil so that innocents are not subjected to harassment at the behest of the true culprits.
- The state government is further directed to sensitize the citizens of the State about the object and purpose of the Police Accountability Commission, Government of Tripura and apprise the people in regard to its role and modus operandi.
- The state government may consider implementation of the guidelines as envisaged by the apex court in Prakash Singh.
Read the Judgment Here