The Punjab and Haryana high court has granted a month's time to the Punjab government to submit an action-taken report against government officials, including jails' staff, found involved in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) cases across the state.
The division bench comprising chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Arun Palli also directed the state authorities on Wednesday to explore the possibility of deploying police force from other states not knowing the Punjabi language to man jails so as to check easy availability of drugs to inmates.
The directions came during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation filed by Tarlochan Singh, seeking directions to the state government for prevention of smuggling of drugs into jails in Punjab.
During arguments of the case, Centre's senior counsel Sukhdeep Singh Sandhu, on a query raised by the court, informed that since prisons was a state subject under the seventh schedule of the Constitution, prison administration became the responsibility of the state government. He submitted that as per the ministry of home affairs reply, since there was a shortage in the central armed police forces (CAPF), it was not viable to deploy those forces in Punjab for jail security. Otherwise also, the CAPF were meant for the internal security/counter-insurgency duties in the country and could not be deployed for the static guard duties, he added. Sandhu, while citing an example of New Delhi's Tihar jail, where Tamil Nadu police force had been deputed for security, suggested that the Punjab government could request other non-Punjabi-speaking states to provide security for jails on mutual agreement.
Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Navkiran Singh raised the issue that there were a number of government officials found indulged in NDPS cases, but there were hardly much cases wherein the state authorities had taken any substantial action against them. He sought directions to the state government to submit the action-taken report against such culprits in the court.
The case has now been posted for the next hearing on February 24.