Uttarakhand HC Declares All Fluids/Thinners And Vulcanized Solutions/Sulochans As Intoxicating Liquor”, Prohibits Sale [Read Judgment]
Concerned over the menace of drug peddling, drug addiction and other drugs trafficking issues spreading in Uttarakhand and its school, colleges and universities, the Uttarakhand High Court has, on the lines of Delhi High Court, declared fluids/thinners and vulcanized solutions/sulochans as “intoxicating liquor” and banned their sale throughout the state while directing constitution of narcotics squad in every district to keep an eye on drug trafficking, anti-drugs clubs in education institutions, besides a series of other directions.
A bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari said drug menace must be sternly dealt with and all governmental agencies should strictly enforce the provisions of the law.
So concerned was the bench about youngsters falling prey to drug addiction that it directed the state government 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.
The court in its oral order referred extensively to the Delhi High Court order in case titled Aasha v. State Government of NCT of Delhi and Another wherein the bench considered the order of Juvenile Justice Board-III which gave a wide interpretation to the expression “intoxicating liquor” to include substances such as whitener, thinner and vulcanizing solutions/sulochans for understanding of Section 77 of the JJ Act to include not just the traditionally understood liquors which are consumed as alcoholic beverages, but also other liquids/fluids, which have the effect of intoxication and which may not be beverages per se.
The Delhi High Court had also issued directions to the Delhi Police to have a control over the supply chain, including the constitution of narcotics squad.
The Uttarakhand High Court was hearing petition praying for strict enforcement of Section 71 of the NDPS Act.
The bench quoted from the National Policy on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, according to which 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.
Noting that “[b]oth traditional and semi-synthetic and synthetic drugs are abused. Intravenous drug use and HIV/AIDS driven by such use have added a new dimension to the problem, especially in the North-eastern states of the country”, the Uttarakhand High Court disposed of the writ petitions by issuing the following mandatory directions including on the analogy of the directions issued by Delhi High Court in the case of Aasha v. State Government of NCT of Delhi and Another:
- The Director-General of Police, State of Uttarakhand, is directed to constitute narcotics squad in each district which shall be supervised by an inspector rank officer who in turn shall work under the supervision of Senior Superintendent of Police/ Superintendent of Police of the district. Each squad shall have the manpower of two inspectors, assistant sub-inspector and eight lower subordinates, including head constable and constables, within a period of four weeks from today.
- The Narcotics Squad after its constitution shall immediately undertake the following tasks:
- Each squad shall identify such area in the district in which there are complaints of the sale of drugs or where the drugs addicts are found operating based on this 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 Narcotics Squad as well as local police and action as per law should be taken against them.
- The Narcotic squad 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 the state 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, Higher Education and Director, School Education are 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 schoolgoing children. Local police shall take proactive and ensure zero tolerance on this issue. Allout efforts shall be made to identify such elements and in case any peddler is identified, immediate action shall be taken against him.
- The narcotic squad shall take action against unscrupulous elements who are involved in the 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 of of Higher Education and Director School Education shall also visit the public schools. The free access shall be given by the management of the school to the high ranking officers.
- All fluids/thinners and vulcanized solutions/sulochans are declared as “intoxicating liquor” and their sale is banned throughout the state.
- 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.
- The state government is directed to develop special, mobile, anti-peddling squads of police with the jurisdiction of all over the cities and adjoining areas.
- 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.
- The local police are 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.
- The school management, principals and teachers shall be encouraged sensitized to look out for peddlers in their vicinity and report them to the police immediately.
- 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 an anti-drug clubs to promote a drug-free life among its members and also in the institution.
- The state government is also directed to sensitize the prison staff in detecting and apprehending drugs in prisons.
- The prisons shall be equipped with sniffer dogs to check the visitors and packages for drugs in the entry and exit points. All the addicts within the prison including open jail shall be registered and compulsorily sent for drug de-addiction.
- Every prisoner entering the prison shall be tested for addiction and shall be de-addicted if he is found to be addicted.
- All the prisoners who are arrested for crimes before their production in a court by an arresting agency shall be examined by the doctor, who 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.
- The state government through the Department of Public Communication and Publicity is directed to launch awareness programmes to educate the masses of ill effects of drug abuse.
- There should be coordination amongst the school authorities, police authorities and hospitals.
- The respondents are directed to strictly enforce Section 71 of the NDPS Act.
- The Secretary, Health, Govt. of Uttarakhand, shall be the nodal officer to implement these directions.
Read the Judgment Here