Taking a serious note of submissions made by former director general of police (DGP, prisons) Shashi Kant that the drug menace in Punjab is badly affecting the election process as well, the Punjab and Haryana high court allowed him to approach the Election Commission (EC) of India and submit his representation.
The division bench comprising chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Augustine George Masih said, "We are sure that the information/representation would receive appropriate attention at the hands of the Election Commission of India."
The development took place during the resumed hearing of a case in which the high court had taken suo motu notice of the former DGP's petition highlighting that the drug racket in Punjab was being run by politicians of various parties either directly or through their henchmen in connivance with the state police.
Kant, present in the court during the case hearing, submitted, "The drug scene has a number of aspects. Drugs are being used openly, subverting the rules during the elections in Punjab, whether these are panchayat or state assembly elections. And parliamentary elections are approaching near."
He further argued, "The Election Commission doesn't have teeth and it doesn't take any action. Drugs should not at all be used in elections and the Punjab government should ensure it."
When the former DGP requested the court to implead the EC as one of the parties in the case, the court said, "The Election Commission is a separate body. Why don't you make a representation to the commission?"
However, the court, while granting four weeks' time to the Punjab government as well as the Centre to file their response to Kant's petition, also directed the former IPS officer to submit his response to both governments' replies in another two weeks.
The court also impleaded the Border Security Force, the Narcotics Control Bureau and the union ministry of home affairs as parties in the case. It also impleaded the Punjab government's departments of health and family welfare, social welfare, education and home affairs as parties in the case so as to file their replies to Kant's petition.
Shashi Kant had submitted that the drug menace was not short of a "systematic genocide" being perpetrated by drug smugglers and their "protectors and henchmen". He had informed in his report that the problem could not be solved without an intense judicial scrutiny when there had been instances of drugs being carried in vehicles with red beacons. The former DGP had submitted that the drug epidemic was the result of massive smuggling of heroin and smack from Afghanistan via Pakistan, with more than 1,000kg entering Punjab every month. He had warned that an entire generation was about to be lost on account of consequent infertility because of drug use.
In his detailed report, the former IPS officer had suggested the constitution of an autonomous body that could face scrutiny of the higher judiciary as well.
The case would now come up for hearing on December 11.