Lamenting that Supreme Court guidelines on storage and disposal of narcotic substances were not being followed, the Punjab and Haryana high court has sought reports from home secretaries of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.
The high court acted on a report prepared by amicus curiae in the case advocate Vivek Kumar Thakur, who, after studying the reports submitted in high court, pointed out violation of SC guidelines by Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. The high court had initiated a suo motu petition in 2015 on a report submitted by Panchkula district and sessions judge highlighting lapses.
“The status report shall be filed on or before the next date of hearing and in case it is not filed on time, the home secretary/secretaries will have to remain present in the court to explain his/her conduct,” the high court directed, seeking response by November 3.
QUESTIONS POSED BY HC
The respondents have been asked why seized narcotics were not disposed of. A report filed by Punjab before a coordinate bench revealed that over 8 lakh kg of poppy husk, 1,590 kg of heroin, 1.59 crore pills and 25 lakh capsules were lying in police and judicial malkhanas up to June 25 this year. The figures given in this case are not available, but the amicus curaie report says that large quantity of drugs were yet to be destroyed in Punjab and Haryana.
The high court has also asked the respondents as to why meeting of the committees constituted for disposal of drugs and psychotropic substances were not being convened as per government of India instructions and why the destruction reports prepared by the committee were not placed on record.
The amicus curaie had pointed out that drugs were being taken to far-off places for disposal, which increased the chances of pilferage for its re-circulation in the market during transportation.
The HC also asked Punjab to explain why there were only two incinerators in the state. Haryana too has been asked to give details of incinerators. The respondents have also been asked to give details of security arrangements at malkhanas.
WHAT GUIDELINES SAY
Soon after the seizure, the drugs should be handed over to the official in-charge of the nearest police station, who will approach the magistrate with an application for sampling. The state should take steps to set up exclusive storage facility for the seizure to prevent theft, pilferage or replacement drugs. Disposal of drugs should be carried out by a designated committee.