Drug menace: Decade on, Punjab and Haryana HC closes suo motu proceedings
It was on September 16, 2013, the court took suo motu note of a letter written by former DGP (prisons) Shashi Kant on the menace of drugs in the state and had started monitoring probes and norms with regard to drugs and awareness programmes to be launched to fight the menace
A decade after the Punjab and Haryana high court took suo motu note of the menace of drugs in Punjab, the proceedings have been closed now.
In its order on Friday, the court discussed various issues ranging from awareness programmes to monitoring of rehabilitation centres and steps taken by the government and police to fight the drug menace by the state government and decided to close the proceedings.
Incidentally, the controversy surrounding a sealed cover report on the alleged role of cops in drug cases involving three former DGPs was also an offshoot of this case, which also has been disposed of.
It was on September 16, 2013, the court took suo motu note of a letter written by former DGP (prisons) Shashi Kant on the menace of drugs in the state and had started monitoring probes and norms with regard to drugs and awareness programmes to be launched to fight the menace. The different high court benches conducted at least 100 hearings during this period. It was during the proceedings of this case that a special task force (STF) was set up by the government to monitor the probe into drug cases, which is still continuing. Subsequently, the court made Chandigarh and Haryana also parties to the case and started monitoring probes into drug cases therein.
In its Friday order, the court reiterated the directions issued to Punjab to fight the drug menace and ordered that the same would be applicable to Haryana and Chandigarh as well.
₹5L compensation for addict who died by suicide
The court also awarded ₹5 lakh compensation to a Kapurthala family, whose son, a drug addict had died by suicide in a de-addiction centre. The deceased father had filed a plea in high court in 2017 alleging torture and had demanded compensation. The court awarded compensation of ₹5 lakh observing that the responsibility of taking care of addicts has to be shared by the state as well.
Guidelines for drug cases
The court’s directions issued to Punjab to fight the drug menace will be applicable to Haryana and Chandigarh as well
Police to register money laundering cases against kingpins at the time of drugs FIR
State to open rehabilitation centres in each district
All educational institutions to appoint the senior-most teacher as the nodal officer for the awareness drive against drugs
Plainclothes policemen are to be deputed around all the educational institutions
Licences of vend supplying liquor to minors be cancelled
Special task force against drugs be strengthened
Police stations to prepare a database, record all individuals previously involved in drug cases and keep tabs on them
Every prisoner entering the prison is to be tested for addiction