The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday opined that the Punjab government machinery must put things in place to control drug menace inside and outside jails in the state.
The observations came from the division bench-comprising chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Augustine George Masih during the hearing of a bunch of petitions highlighting drug menace and poor medical facilities in jails of Punjab.
Speaking for the bench, the chief justice said, "I am fully aware of problems both inside and outside jails in Punjab. This has to be taken seriously."
The state government had itself admitted before the high court in January this year that 20% of the 7,000 prisoners lodged in various jails of the state were drug addicts.
Segregating the three cases out of the bunch for proper directions, the court framed the issues for arguments on the next date of hearing. The court asked all counsels appearing in the case to give their suggestions on the problem of drugs in jails, de-addiction facilities for jail inmates and medical treatment of inmates inside and outside the jail premises.
The public interest litigation was filed by Tarlochan Singh, seeking directions to the state government for the prevention of smuggling of drugs into jail premises. The case would come up for hearing on August 7.
In another petition, noting that considerable time had elapsed after the Kapurthala jail firing incident in which an inmate was killed on November 20, 2011, the court directed the state government to file the detailed status report of the incident. The directions came on petitions filed by Jalandhar resident Shashi Sharma and NGO Lawyers for Human Rights International. The case would come up for hearing on August 13.